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HSE and Minister have serious questions to answer over scale of non-specialist doctors operating as consultants – Louise O’Reilly TD

15 April, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has called on the HSE and the Minster for Health to state why they did not previously reveal the scale of non-specialist doctors operating as consultants and what has been done to address the situation. 

Teachta O’Reilly said: 

“I have been calling on the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the HSE to address the issue of doctors operating as consultants even though they are not on the Medical Council’s specialist register and have not passed their consultant exams since last May.

“I first raised this issue having been informed through a Parliamentary Question response from the HSE that there were over 100 doctors without the specialist skills operating as consultants.

“However, in the 11 months since, not only does it appear that the situation has not been addressed. In fact, it appears that the issue is worse than was originally reported to me.

“It has been reported today that 650 out of 4,373 medical consultants in the state are not on specialist register (as of 2015). The figures released to Susan Mitchell of the Sunday Business Post show that one in seven of every consultants employed in private and public hospitals in the State has not completed their specialist training.

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

“On Friday I called on Minister Harris to outline the measures he had taken to tackle the appointment of non-specialist doctors as consultants.

"Today I am calling on both the Minister and the HSE to outline what is being done to address this situation and also why the full scale of the situation was not revealed to TDs who submitted PQs investigating the issue.

“I have also this evening written to the Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health requesting a hearing on this issue at the earliest available opportunity.  

“There have been very serious developments regarding this issue over the weekend and I believe the Minister for Health, the HSE, and representatives from private hospitals need to come before the Health Committee to explain this situation."

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