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Worrying number of doctors without specialist skills operating as consultants in health service – O’Reilly

25 June, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking this afternoon, Sinn Féin TD and Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly revealed to the RTÉ ‘This Week’ programme the details of a Parliamentary Question released to her showing the worrying number of consultants operating in the state who do not hold the specialist division registration and therefore do not meet required qualification requirements to be a consultant.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“The PQ response which I received from the HSE outlined the number of non-specialist doctors without the requisite skills who have been appointed to consultant positions in the state. The numbers made for extremely worrying reading.

“The HSE response outlined that there are 128 doctors who do not hold the specialist division registration but are nonetheless operating in the position as consultants in the health service.

“This state of affairs is completely unacceptable and could potentially be compromising patient safety and care. Even the HSE in their reply stated this. They noted: ‘the significant risk issues arising from poor compliance by health service employers with national requirements regarding the creation and approval of non-permanent Consultant posts and subsequent issues regarding acquisition of Contracts of Indefinite Duration by individuals who did not meet the stated requirements to work as Consultants’.

“Unfortunately, this is a direct result of the inability of the health service to recruit and retain doctors of all levels. The fallout is then to compromise and appoint non-specialist doctors who do not meet the qualification requirements to the position of consultants and therefore compromise patient care.

“The situation is unfair on patients and their families. It is also extremely unfair on those doctors and consultants who do a fantastic job that they would be put in such a difficult and precarious situation.

“I believe that there may be more to this story and that it warrants further investigation and I shall be pursuing this further with the Minister for Health, his Department, the HSE, and hospitals across the state.

“Unfortunately, this is just another strand to the crisis which has engulfed our health service and which Fine Gael has proven incapable of addressing.” 

Note: Please see the PQ in question attached

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