The IMO has said it believes that there might be grounds for a suit against the HSE on the grounds of age discrimination, arising from its failure to appoint a number of area medical officers (AMOs) to senior medical officers (SMOs), seeing as they perform the same work.

The IMO is taking the legal route in a bid to resolve the long-standing “injustice” of experienced AMOs, doing virtually the same job as newly appointed SMOs, but earning up to €2,000 less per annum.

“We’re going down a legal pathway, as it’s an issue that’s been going on for far too long and they should resolve it,” incoming IMO Vice President Dr Paul McKeown told IMT.

IMO Industrial Relations Officer Anthony Owens, who said he had been working on the issue for the previous two years, pointed out to Committee members that in March 2005, the HSE and Department of Finance agreed to hire 94 SMOs from the cohort of the experienced AMOs employed before 2004, which would have resolved the matter.

However, the HSE had not done so in times of plenty, although the cost involved would have been relatively small, he said.

“Unfortunately the Equality Tribunal does require a high level of proof and the CVs of all the AMOs have been sent to the solicitor, who has asked for more information,” he commented.

Seconding the motion that the IMO urgently achieves the upgrade of AMOs to SMO status and end this anomaly of pay without further delay, which was carried, a clearly exasperated Dr Ann Egan said it had been eight years since the settlement and there were still approximately 85 doctors paid up to €2,000 less per annum for doing the same work. Consequently, AMOs earned up to €12,000 less than a person who joined the service as an SMO in November 2005 over the period, she said.

Article from Irish Medical Times