AP front Issue 4 - 2000 - 200dpi

29 May 2003 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Take on the consultants

It is time for the Minister for Health and Children Micheál Martin TD to take on the privileged position of consultants in light of the Brennan report, which kas highlighted their powerful role within the health services.

The government has failed to reach the target set out in the National Health Strategy for the conclusion of an agreement on a revised contract for hospital consultants. There is a stark contrast between the position of the hospital consultants and the unjust way the government has treated the public health doctors currently in dispute.

The Brennan Commission has once again identified the privileged position occupied by those consultants who manipulate the public health services to facilitate their private practice.

In the National Health Strategy, the government promises that 'greater equity for public patients will be sought on a revised contract for hospital consultants'. This was to be achieved by agreement of a revised contract for hospital consultants by the end of 2002. The government has missed this target. In January, Sinn Feein's Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin tabled a Dáil question to the Minister for Health and Children asking when an agreement will be reached on a revised contract for hospital consultants. The Minister was unable to indicate when negotiations will conclude or even whether an agreement will be reached.

Through their professional bodies, the consultants have a veto on the deployment of their services throughout the health system. Too often, their decisions are based on their sense of the career needs of their profession rather than on the healthcare needs of service users. This must change or else reform of the system will prove impossible.

This report comes at the height of the public health doctors' dispute. There is a stark contrast between the position of the hospital consultants and the unjust way the government has treated the public health doctors who work solely in the public sector. With talks due to begin this Friday, Mícheál Martin must ensure that public health doctors get a fair deal.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

Powered by Phoenix Media Group