A case involving hundreds of consultants against the State and HSE has been settled

Thousands of hospital doctors are set to get pay increases.

Around 700 consultants had taken a legal case against the State and the HSE over a breach of contract, with the Government saying 2,000 other doctors could also had cases.

The action has now been settled.

According to the Government, the settlement will cost the State €182 million in back payments - as well as an ongoing cost of €62 million each year from next January.

However, it doesn’t apply to those recruited after 2012.

Paschal Donohoe and Simon Harris comment on the agreement at Government Buildings. Image: Paul Quinn

Speaking about the settlement, Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe said: "I recognise that these are very significant, large amounts of money.

"However, the outcome that we have achieved is considerably less than our earlier estimate of potential costs of almost €700 million."

The settlement was welcomed by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association.

In a statement, the association explained: "Today’s High Court settlement, is an important and essential development in order to ensure the delivery of high quality care to patients in the public health service.

"[It] is a first significant step in restoring trust between consultants and health sector employers. However, it is now essential that the discrimination against New Entrant Consultants is ended without delay."