Hospital consultants’ breach of contract actions against State put on hold for talks

Aodhan O Faolain

Reporter:

Aodhan O Faolain

The High Court has heard that talks aimed at resolving the dispute are continuing

The High Court has heard that talks aimed at resolving the dispute are continuing

Talks aimed at resolving Irish hospital consultant doctors’ breach of contract actions against the Health Service Executive and the State are continuing, the High Court has heard.  

The hearing of several lead cases in the dispute was due to commence last week but was adjourned to Tuesday to facilitate talks aimed at resolving the dispute.

On Tuesday at the High Court Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh was asked by parties to allow the sides additional time to see if the talks could produce a resolution.

The case was put back to the afternoon when just after 3.20pm the court was asked to put the cases back to Wednesday morning to see if progress could be made overnight.

The Judge, who described the situation the court was in as being “in limbo” said she hoped by then that there would be “some clarity” in regards to the cases going ahead or not.  

The Judge has been asked to hear several lead cases in claims brought by hundreds of consultant doctors who allege there was a breach of their contract in relation to agreed pay promises in the 2008 consultants’ contract.

The consultants are represented by John Rogers SC, Michael Cush SC, Gerard Durcan SC and Alex White SC. 

The HSE and the State are represented by Eoin McCullough SC, Eileen Barrington SC, Marguerite Bolger SC and Paul Sreenan SC. 

The cases centre around a 2008 contract where pay increases were agreed for consultants in return for those doctors adopting new working conditions from July of 2008 onwards, including bringing their working week from 37 to 39 hours.

The consultant’s claims of a breach of contract are opposed by the State and the HSE.

If the doctors are successful the State may have to pay out up to €700m.