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Irish consultants balloted on deal

Ministers in Ireland have finally reached an agreement with consultant representatives after a five-year row over contracts.

Officials from the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA), Health Service Executive (HSE), and Health Department have finally managed to hammer out a deal which will now go before members on 15 February.

Under the new contract, consultants can choose from three salary brackets between 170,000-240,000 euro (�126,000-�177,000).

They will only be entitled to treat an agreed number of private patients outside of public hospitals, and their working week will be extended from 33 to 37 hours.

Health minister Mary Harney said she is happy with the IHCA deal, adding: “I would anticipate that there may be a three-month period from the time it’s put to their members and accepted, and that consultants would opt for one of the new contracts or stay in the existing contracts.

“We have always set out to attract as many consultants as possible to a new contract of employment because we want to employ up to 2,000 more consultants in areas of the health service which badly need them.”

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