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Scan errors indictment of system that relies on expensive agency staff - Ó Caoláin

30 April, 2015 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has voiced great concern at the revelations that thousands of radiological exams reported in hospitals across the country have had to be reviewed. It is understood that these scans had been reported on by 3 locum Consultant Radiologists in 7 different hospitals and at least one patient has had a delayed diagnosis of cancer.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

 “I am greatly concerned that the care of many thousands of patients was potentially compromised. I understand that one patient had a delayed diagnosis of cancer and my hopes and thoughts are with that patient and their family. We must remember also that many others were recalled and offered further scans which must have caused great worry. While most of these patients have not suffered any serious clinical outcome the potential was there and this further erodes confidence in our health system.

“In these cases the consultants were employed through a medical agency and in at least one case not on the specialist register. While I acknowledge that the greater number of agency staff are competent and committed healthcare providers, this latest scandal highlights one of the further dangers of relying on unknown temporary staff. Not only have these scans had to be reviewed, but the locum doctors involved and their agencies were likely paid exorbitant fees in the first place, often four times the rate of permanent staff. This money was as good as thrown down the drain, it now seems.

“We need to ensure that the HSE focuses on reducing reliance on agency staff and makes hospital permanent posts attractive for qualified applicants. The current approach is clearly costing us all much more in the medium term.” 

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