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Minister needs to outline measures taken to tackle appointment of non-specialist doctors as consultants – O’Reilly

13 April, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has called on the Minster for Health Simon Harris to update the public on the measures he has taken to tackle the appointment of non-specialist doctors as consultants since the issue was raised with him last summer. 

Teachta O’Reilly said: 

“Last May, it was revealed to me through Parliamentary Question responses that there were over 100 doctors operating across the state as consultants even though they were not on the Medical Council’s specialist register and had not passed their consultant exams. 

“I immediately raised this matter with the Minister for Health and called on him to investigate the situation and to address the matter. The Minister has been given enough warning and ample time to address this situation and he now needs to update the public as to what he has done to rectify the situation. 

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

“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. 

“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 to make sure that qualified personnel are employed. Anything less is risks compromising 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 update the public as to what he has done to address this situation and give assurances that the practice has stopped.” 

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