Possible strike action as Limerick doctors' frustration reaches 'critical point'

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Possible strike action as Limerick doctors' frustration reaches 'critical point'

THE IRISH Medical Organisation (IMO) has warned that strike action could take place at University Hospital Limerick, as frustrated doctors overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action. 

The union said that strike action could take place if unrostered overtime payments owed to non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) are not paid by February 22. 

The IMO held a ballot last Thursday, resulting in 95% of NCHDs and interns voting in favour of industrial action, up to and including strike action. 

The ballot allows the IMO to announce industrial action at the hospital with as little as two weeks notice, a spokesperson said. 

The issue surrounds an ongoing dispute – of over two years – between NCHDs and management over non-payment of unrostered overtime. 

This is the second time since January 2016 that doctors have voted in favour of industrial action. 

“At that time the hospital management agreed to pay overtime due and to reform and improve its processes so that underpayments for unrostered overtime would not continue into the future,” a spokesperson said. 

Speaking today, the IMO said: “It is regrettable that the regime in University Hospital Limerick has forced NCHDs to resort to the threat of industrial action for payment of hours they have worked in service of patient care. However, the legitimate frustration among these doctors has now reached a critical point.”

The UL Hospitals Group has been contacted for a comment on the matter, this Tuesday afternoon.