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Eilish O'Regan: Bill a bonus for Reilly in battle with doctors

The timing of these new revelations -- that around €386m was paid to over 1,800 consultants in the year to June for treating hospital patients -- is good for Health Minister James Reilly in his battle with doctors.

The medics argue that the cut in public salaries for new recruits will drive away the best doctors. But a healthy top-up income can still be earned from private practice.

It is bad for the many consultants who are continuing to resist changes to their rosters.

The specialists will not suffer any pay cut. Hospitals just want them to work the hours in the evening and weekends that they signed up for in a new contract in 2008.

The resistance of some doctors to working until 8pm in the evening or coming in for shift on Saturday has raised suspicions. Will this impinge on the hours they give to their private practice?

The current stand by the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish Hospital Consultants Association is hard to countenance.

They have not yet sought a vote from their members on the new rosters.

The agreement was reached at the LRC two weeks ago but unlike other unions, which would have balloted by now, they are dragging their heels.

Irish Independent