Irish radiologist returns to work after 3-week suspension

Dr. Martin Schranz, the senior radiologist suspended just before Christmas, returned to work on 15 January after a change of heart from the Health Service Executive (HSE), according to reports in the Irish media.

Schranz was back at work at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) on Monday after meeting with hospital management late last week, the Irish Times reported on the evening of 15 January. "It is understood that while Dr. Schranz has been reinstated, his activities are restricted, under the terms of the agreement reached between him and representatives of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association with UHK," the newspaper stated.

Speaking before Christmas, Schranz said he was given no notice of his suspension on 22 December, which he said took place in front of other staff, the Irish Times continued. "He described allegations about his work made by hospital management as frivolous and without foundation. He also claimed management was trying to prevent him seeing private patients through his own radiology service, where he charges a nominal €30 fee for scans."

Schranz said that on being told he was being placed on administrative leave, he had to collect belongings and leave the hospital immediately. The suspension occurred after he had made a submission to HSE chief executive Bernard Gloster, in accordance with HSE's policy for protected disclosures, according to the Irish Times. Schranz reportedly raised concerns about the outsourcing of radiology services.

The HSE is the publicly funded organization providing health and personal social services across Ireland. Photo courtesy of Stephen Barnes / Alamy Stock Photo.The HSE is the publicly funded organization providing health and personal social services across Ireland. Photo courtesy of Stephen Barnes / Alamy Stock Photo.

In an article posted on 12 January, the Irish Examiner also reported about Schranz's imminent reinstatement "on restricted activities." Schranz is the sole full-time radiologist at UHK, but the hospital also has doctors who between them work hours equivalent to 2.5 full-time consultant radiologists, it noted.

Hospital managers were apparently unhappy about an out-of-hours diagnostics clinic run by Schranz to reduce waiting times, the long hours worked by nonmedical staff, and "excessive" MRI referrals, the Irish Examiner stated. "Public hospital consultants on some contracts can do a certain amount of private work, although this is being phased out under a new Slaintecare contract."

Response from Schranz

On the evening of 15 January, Schranz posted a tweet from his personal account (@martinpschranz) on X, formerly Twitter, informing his 7,165 followers about the Irish Times article on his return to work. Within 24 hours, the tweet had more than 166,000 views, 1,100 likes, 138 comments, and 121 retweets.

2024 01 16 Martin Schranz Tweet Updated

Alluding to Schranz's controversial 18 December tweet about the UHK's empty water vending machine that got over 9.4 million views, one of his followers asked: "Did it really take three weeks for them to replenish that water machine? I guess they couldn't let you back in till that was done!"

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