IMO votes NOT to review how they lost €10 million (We’ll leave it there lads)

The membership of Irish Medical Organisation has voted not to look into the fact that they dropped a cool €10 million euro (and who knows what else) paying off its former chief executive George McNeice. Neither is it going to look into any of the activity that went on while McNeice was chief executive, including the practice of paying the President €100,000 a year but then presenting the President’s wife a bouquet of flowers at the AGM (always in George’s hometown of Killarney) as a ‘thank you’ for her husband’s hard work for the year.

Yes, well, that and the hundred grand they didn’t tell the members about 😉

The vote, they say, was independently scrutinised, though they don’t mention by whom. Neither did they release any figures about which way the GPs voted, or the way hospital consultants or the NCHDs voted, which is pretty unusual for a supposedly democratic organisation.

Of course, the leadership of the union never wanted to have a ballot in the first place, and it took action by grassroots members to force them into having a vote on this issue at all. Members campaigned for a review which the leadership resisted, and eventually agreed to hold a vote on the matter after a lot of pressure from its own people.

For what it’s worth, the result of the ballot (according to the IMO) was 52% in favor on not having a review and 48% in favor of having one.

Since we’re talking about democracy, polls and opinions, I’d like to insert my own straw poll here. Doctors I’ve talked to outside the IMO leadership who wanted a review For: About 95% Against: 5%. I’m just saying 😉

Anyway, to get on with the ‘news’ from the IMO, current President Prof Trevor Duffy said afterwards: “The closeness of the vote reflects the seriousness of the issue we were considering. However Council will now respect the outcome of the ballot and the democratic vote which has taken place”

That’s a pretty hilarious statement considering the Council did everything in their power to prevent a review from taking place, but I’m just telling you what he said.

He also said that the IMO had undergone huge change since the controversy erupted (really?).

“As an organisation we have gone through an enormous process of change including an extensive consultation with the membership, the adoption of a completely new set of rules and the introduction of a new management and governance structure for the organisation which reflect the lessons learnt through this whole episode. Now this matter has been decided, we can focus without distraction on the critical challenge of representing the interests of our members and our patients at a time of enormous stress and difficulty in the health services.”

Doctors get a lot of flak for not listening to patients, but really, the idea that everyone will to do a 1984 and un-remember what happened in the past and ‘focus without distraction’ is just a mad idea. Prof Duffy must have his eyes closed, his hands on his ears, and be running around shouting ‘La la la’ for him to imagine this this will all go away now. The only thing likely to go away is current IMO members. This issue is set to run and run.

Even the timing – releasing the results late on a Friday night – smacks of not wanting debate. The IMO will hope that nobody will bother with this for Saturday’s papers – or at least do something small – and of course then, there won’t be anything until Monday’s papers.

But again, that’s the IMO living in the world of the past where only the ‘papers’ count and there’s no Twitter, no blogs, no social media. Hello IMO, this is 1974 calling, we want our media plans back!

All this will be grist to the mill for the Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association and the National Association of General Practitioners, but that’s another story.

The question remains: Does the IMO think it can go on with any credibility without explaining to its members how it lost millions of their euros or is it a case that to the IMO, a few million euros don’t really amount to much?

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