Sunday 22 April 2018

Junior doctors vote for industrial action

Doctors have backed a strike with 97% voting in support of industrial action over what they have branded dangerous working hours
Doctors have backed a strike with 97% voting in support of industrial action over what they have branded dangerous working hours

Eilish O’Regan Health Correspondent

JUNIOR doctors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action against “dangerously long“ working hours - leaving hospitals facing major disruption in three weeks.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) said 1,000 junior doctors had voted and 97pc are in favour of escalating their dispute “up to and including industrial action”.

The proposed action which hit the running of clinics, planned operations and other services in hospitals as junior doctors are essential to the running of key services.

A strike committee will meet tomorrow to draw up a plan of action and will sit down with the HSE on Wednesday to draw up contingency plans.

The doctors say they will provide emergency cover.

Junior doctors are angry at the failure to cut their working hours which can see them on duty for between 70 and 100 hours a week and enduring shifts of 36 hours at a time.

Eric Young, industrial relations officer in the IMO said: “Doctors are worried and angry. The concerns which they highlighted about the danger posed to hospital patients and to themselves continue to be ignored and there is now a strong appetite to step up the campaign to force the HSE and the Department of Health to do what everyone knows must be done – implement the European Working Time Directive and stop the dangerous and cruel exploitation of NCHDs in Irish hospitals.”

He criticised comments made by the Health Minister James Reilly and reported in today’s Irish Independent in which he sympathised with the plight of junior doctors.

“When you read his comments in support of junior doctors you’d think he was still President of the IMO.  But he’s the Minister for Health now and he can fix this chaotic situation with the stroke of a pen but he won’t do it.”

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