Doctors are not paid for extra hours

Hospital doctors are still not being paid for all the long hours they work – which contributes to the reason they are emigrating in growing numbers, a doctors’ leader has said.

Dr Paddy Hillery said a growing number of young doctors are becoming demoralised and frustrated with their jobs.

Doctors are choosing to leave the Irish hospital system as they feel their efforts are not being rewarded or appreciated, said Dr Hillery, who is chairman of the non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHD) committee of the Irish Medical Organisation.

“Doctors in training see the reality of working in the healthcare system in Ireland,” he said.

“More frequently, they are coming to the conclusion that the sacrifices they will have to make to stay in Ireland, personally, professionally and in their own health, are not worth the benefits,” he said.

“Ongoing chronic lack of strategic investment in the health service is making the job itself demoralising and frustrating.

“NCHD contracts are continually breached and there are significant problems in getting paid for all hours worked, and this has undermined the relationship and view that NCHDs have of their employer and the health services,” he said.

Ireland produces the highest number of medical graduates per 100,000 population in the 36 countries which are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) but more than half of those doctors have indicated they are planning to practise medicine outside of Ireland.

“Many consultant posts, which were once so sought- after, are now not receiving a single applicant, resulting in 500 vacant consultant posts in the country,” said Dr Hillery.

“This is a direct consequence of the pay discrimination for any consultant appointed since 2012.

“Patients are suffering due to this recruitment and retention crisis.

“Some 7,000 operations were cancelled last year and 2018 saw record levels of overcrowding in our hospitals,” he said.

“Our doctors are increasingly leaving Ireland’s shores and taking up positions in other English-speaking countries, where they are valued and treated with respect.

“And this will continue until the Irish Government values doctors,” he said.

A study released in 2017 revealed one in three hospital doctors in Ireland has experienced burnout.

The National Study of Wellbeing of Hospital Doctors in Ireland found up to 10pc of doctors reported severe to extremely severe levels of depression, anxiety and stress.

Alan O’Keeffe
The Irish Independent