Saturday, April 21, 2007

"Mickey Mouse" denial

Published in today’s Irish Times is the following denial that an IHCA representative described the proposed new consultant’s package as “mickey mouse”.

However, the transcript provided repeatedly refers to “a job without a contract or a salary” and seems like an even dafter claim. Perhaps it reveals just how thin is the air on Planet IHCA.

Madam, - I refer to the report in last Wednesday's edition of the IHCA press conference, in which I am quoted as describing a proposed salary of up to €205,000 a year as "Mickey Mouse". Mary Rafferty, in her column of April 19th, while not referring to me by name, again credits the IHCA with holding the same view regarding the proposed salaries which, incidentally, range from €160,000 to €205,000.I was surprised to read your report which credited me with a statement which I did not make. For the record, the transcript of the press conference records my contribution as follows:
"Any young person that has spent six years at school slogging to get into medical school, spent six or seven years at medical school, and then gone abroad and trained for seven years to come back to an offer of a job that does not have a contract, that doesn't have a salary, I mean it's laughable.
"No one in this room would take a job without a contract and a salary. They're asking people to take jobs on contracts for that don't exist on salaries that don't exist and it's absurd.
"I've worked abroad, I've worked abroad [ sic] and I know how people think. I've worked in England and I've worked in America and I know how people think and they'll come back and see this as Mickey Mouse. Anyone who's working in a big centre. . ."
I do not expect that this letter will correct the damage that has been done to the reputation of the IHCA and consultants in general as a result of the widespread inaccurate coverage of our press conference, but I do hope that it will set the record straight for future reference
. - Yours, etc,
Dr JOSH KEAVENY, Consultant Anaesthetist, Beaumont Hospital Dublin 9.

I've sent the following response.

Madam - Today you publish a denial by IHCA representative Dr Josh Keaveny that he ever described the proposed salary for the new consultants contract as “mickey mouse“.
However, the transcript provided in support of this shows him to have made repeated references to “a job without a contract or a salary”and this was a situation he considered to be “mickey mouse”.

If these utterances were supposed to represent a mature IHCA understanding of the situation and what would be on offer, then clearly that organisation needs to employ, as a matter of urgency, some professional support to conduct future negotiations. Otherwise, we’ll continue to go nowhere and hard-working, dedicated consultants will continue to wonder how they could have become so universally vilified. Yours etc.

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