On Thursday, the UK National Audit Office has revealed that NHS consultants there earned an average £110k (c. €162k) per annum for working an average 50.2 hour week in 2006.
This level of productivity has been criticised by the Commons Public Accounts Committee, to which the National Audit Office reports because NHS consultants were given a 25% salary increase in 2003 on the basis of increased productivity. However, in the interim their average weekly hours worked has actually decreased from 51.6 to 50.2.
Sir John Bourn, the Comptroller and Auditor-General and head of the National Audit Office, said: “Consultants deserve to be paid properly for the work that they do. However, the new contract was introduced to benefit not only consultants but patients and the health service in general".
In Ireland, the new HSE consultants public-only contract has a basic salary of €205k per annum for a 39-hour week, with a €20k on call allowance and a further €40k performance related bonus available. This is the package which has been rejected out of hand by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association and described as “Mickey Mouse”.
It's clearly time to stop playing Goofy and simply tell the IHCA to Donald Duck Off!
Footnote: Published as a letter in the Irish Independent 23/4/07, the Irish Examiner 25/4/07. A variant with a less frivolous ending published in the Irish Times 24/4/07
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