herald

Monday 16 July 2018

Consultants set for pay rises up to €72k after €200m deal

Consultants will get windfall. Photo: Juve
Consultants will get windfall. Photo: Juve

Thousands of hospital consultants are to get a €200m back-money windfall - meaning pay rises of between €55,000 and €72,000.

Talks on the demand for back-money arising out of pay increases consultants were promised but never received have reached a settlement.

At the High Court yesterday, Ms Justice Una Ni Raifeartaigh was informed that several lead actions brought over what the consultants claimed was a failure by the State to comply with the terms the 2008 Consultants Contract had been settled in their entirety.

The back-payments will be retrospective for up to six years.

Around 700 consultants have lodged High Court claims but the settlement will be extended to all doctors who signed up to a 2008 contract and were appointed before 2012.

It is understood that the deal will cost the State around €200m in retrospective payments, and will add €60m to the annual consultant pay bill in the future.

The money will be paid in two tranches, with the first 40pc coming early next year and the second by June 2020.

The extent of the pay rise depends on the type of contract a consultant has.

A consultant who works full-time in public hospitals, with no fee-paying patients, will see their salary increase from around €180,000 to €252,000.

Consultants who are allowed treat private patients in their public hospital will get a salary rise from €170,000 to €225,000.

The back-pay will come along with the progressive unwinding of the financial emergency cuts in salaries that were brought in during the recession.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) welcomed the settlement and said it has been a particularly divisive issue.

Injustice

"Consultants were effectively forced by Government to go to court to challenge the unilateral breaching of their contracts by the State - the same contract which the State itself had negotiated over a prolonged period of time," it said.

While IMO welcomed the acknowledgement from the State of the breach, it said it was "extremely disappointed that... the settlement fails to address the gross injustice visited upon young consultants employed by the HSE since 2012".

Meanwhile, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association have also welcomed the decision, saying it is "an important and essential development".

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