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Minister and HSE have serious questions to answer over appointment of non-specialist doctors as consultants - Louise O'Reilly TD

21 August, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy Louise O'Reilly has said the revelations of the extent to which non-specialist doctors are being appointed as consultants raises serious questions for the Minister for Health and the HSE.

Speaking this morning, Deputy O'Reilly said:

"The extent that non-specialist doctors are being appointed as consultants in hospitals across the State is extremely worrying from a patient safety perspective.

"The information which I received in a response to a Parliamentary Question and which is expertly reported on by Susan Mitchell in the Sunday Business Post is a huge public interest story.

"It is not acceptable that patients are put in a situation where they can no longer assume that their consultant has completed specialist training. Being sick is difficult and worrying enough without having the added concern that the person treating you does not have the specialist qualifications.

"The Minister for Health Simon Harris, the HSE, and the hospitals themselves have serious questions to answer over this practice. In addition to compromising patient safety there are also possible medico-legal ramifications.

"This issue is interlinked with the broader problem surrounding the inability of the health service to recruit and retain staff, and both issues need to be addressed simultaneously.

"The solution is not to employ unqualified consultants but to make sure that qualified personnel are employed. Anything less is a compromising of patient safety and is certainly not in the best interests of the wonderful staff we have working in our health service.

"Minister Harris needs to immediately state why he hasn't addressed this problem since I asked him to do so on May 15th. As with all issues in the health service, the buck stops with the Minister for Health.  

"He now needs to deviate from his default position of blaming others and take a hands on role in addressing this problem and ensuring that the practice is discontinued."

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