Hospital doctors in Ireland are to be balloted on protest measures including strike action, a union said.
Government has failed to engage on measures to address a recruitment and retention crisis among the medical profession, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) claimed.
We are at breaking pointDr Matthew Sadlier
Dr Matthew Sadlier, former president of the IMO and a member of its consultants’ committee, said: “We are at breaking point.”
The IMO believes too many people are on waiting lists amid a severe shortage of specialists in areas like psychiatry and ophthalmology.
Dr Sadlier added: “Doctors in Ireland are committed to providing the best care possible for patients, but we are left with no choice but to ballot for industrial action by a Government that still refuses to address the unprecedented consultant recruitment crisis.
“We have already lost one generation of doctors to emigration and we cannot let that happen again.”
He said it was a basic principle that equal work should mean equal pay and claimed consultants have been unfairly targeted by a Government that does not value patient welfare.
“This unjustifiable pay disparity has led to an unprecedented crisis in a health service with unsafe waiting times and too few doctors to meet patient demand.”
He said doctors had been left with no other option than to take industrial action.
Talk of reform is a smoke screen for the crisis that is happening nowDr Matthew Sadlier
“With the levels of frustration and low morale amongst doctors and the growing concern for the safety of our patients we expect to receive a strong mandate for action.
“Talk of reform is a smoke screen for the crisis that is happening now.
“In the event of continued inaction by the Government we will engage in an escalating campaign of industrial action.”