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A new scheme to bring more doctors to Ireland could begin soon

DUBLIN: The government will soon make a decision to appoint consultant doctors on a fixed schedule for public sector service. Detailed discussions led by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly will soon reach cabinet for approval. The scheme, which aims to increase the number of doctors working in government hospitals, allows consultant doctors to work off-site after fixed contracted hours. Consultants will not be allowed to treat private patients in public hospitals under the new Sláintecare contract.

Salaries on offer range from €209,915 to €252,150. The government is trying to avoid the situation of doctors leaving Ireland and to offer the best salary in the European Union. The Ministry of Health believes that the new scheme will attract more doctors from Asian countries to Ireland and avoid the current shortage of doctors in Ireland.

The government intends to make the offer available to all new entrants as well as doctors currently working in Ireland.

It is understood that the new contract will extend the core working hours the consultants will be asked to work.

This will entail working 37 hours per week, Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with consultants available on Saturdays.

For the first time, consultants are rostered on Saturdays as part of the regular work week.

Independent chairman Tom Mallon ended the contract negotiations.

The representative committees will now consider the final proposals. The project will then be presented to the Cabinet by the Minister of Health. As there is already a general consensus that the project should be implemented, it is likely to be implemented soon.

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