Pay subsidy of €60,000 to €100,000 to hospital consultants?
Why does the HSE think one salary level should fit all consultant categories? This ignores the elementary concept that supply and demand for labour should determine wages. With a single salary,if high standards are maintained,all consultants will have to be paid the salary necessary to attract the most highly paid,scarcest consultant category in the long run, even though consultants in oversupply situations would work for an awful lot less. Yet another example of the public sector screwing taxpayers. Look at the huge differences in the pay of US consultants in the table below,up to $160,000.
With consultants withdrawing services over a dispute on how they are to be paid on the new contracts,it is interesting to compare their pay with international levels. Comparison with pay in the advanced countries of the English speaking world is the most appropriate,say with the UK,Australia and the USA.
In the UK, the monopoly NHS provider can squeeze pay levels. In the USA,a private healthcare market coupled with generous federal funding of healthcare for the over 65s under Medicare allows payment to consultants out of two pockets. Medical costs have spiralled to around 15% of the economy.
Ireland's health system is closer to London than New York,but with doctors charging fees and with our private insurance enabling queue jumping.
The following salary survey figures were obtained for the USA from the website www.meritthawkins.com , where there is a summary of comprehensive data covering thousands of physicians from many different survey companies*. The median (in the middle) salaries in the tables were:
General Surgery 281,000
Given the decline in the dollar, the HSE's offer of about €200,000 plus bonus to new consultants is up there with many of the American consultants,many of whom are now employees of HMOs (health maintenance organisations).
Does anyone out there have figures for the UK or Ireland that includes fee earnings?
Irish society may be happy to pay much the same wage to teachers and nurses,with the effect that wages of the highest paid will tend to drive up the average wage. In nursing,the same wages paid to intensive care and operating theatre nurses are also paid to the less technically demanding nursing specialties. In teaching, the wages necessary to attract scarce mathematicians and scientists tend to increase all teachers' wages. Or the government may settle for less highly qualified professionals in maths and science than those in the private sector.
But does Irish society want this principle to apply in the case of hospital consultants' salaries? This could mean subsidising the pay of the lowest paid consultants by €100,000 a year. Or,more likely,the government could settle for less highly skilled consultants in the most highly paid categories.
But would you want to put your life in their hands?
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