Talks have commenced between the Government and public service unions on unwinding the severe pay cuts imposed following the collapse of the public finances in 2009.
The Irish Dental Union is representing members employed in the public service and also those contracted to provide services to the State as part of this process.
At their recent meeting, the IDU sought reversal of the pension levy and pay cuts imposed on our public service members. With specific reference to dental reforms, we highlighted the unacceptable delays and non-implementation of the agreement we reached with the HSE in 2011 as part of the movement from 32 community care areas to 17 integrated service areas. The 20% net reduction in dental staff positions and the absence of a job evaluation scheme to take account of the extra responsibilities assumed by members who took on significantly enhanced roles in recent years were also highlighted by the Union.
FEMPI and Medical Card contractors
The Union has separately been representing the concerns of its members in general practice who were also adversely affected by cuts to their professional fees as part of the FEMPI process. We wrote to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform recently, insisting that our general practitioner members should also have the benefit of an unwinding of the FEMPI cuts on a basis no less favourable than that which emerges for public servants.
In response, we have been advised that “the intention is that the Department of Health will put in place a process involving the representatives of contracted professionals in the health sector who have been affected by FEMPI; following on from the DPER engagement with the public sector unions. A formal communication will follow in due course.”
Further updates on the progress of talks for IDU members will issue in due course.