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Training structure for Junior Doctors undermining development of Health Service

17 April, 2007

Newly appointed Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has said that the lack of appropriate training and opportunities for Junior Doctors will undermine the future development of the health service particularly in areas where there are currently difficulties in filling and retaining consultant grade posts.

Ms Ní Chuilín said:

"There are currently serious difficulties in filling and retaining consultant doctor grade posts right across the health service here. It is a problem that will only get worse unless we take a serious look at the opportunities and training of junior doctors that will allow them to progress through the profession. It is an insane position where junior doctors are being left unemployed or locked out of training.

"The lack of opportunities for the advancement of junior doctors will force people to leave the health service here in search of progression elsewhere. Not only does this mean that we will be losing the considerable investment that has been made in their training but it will also undermine the long term sustainability of our health service. But the approach must be based on developing the skills and competencies needed for our junior doctors and not selection led.

"It appears that the situation has become bogged down. Instead of the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) agenda ensuring that patient safety is paramount; that improved supervision and accountability allows doctors in training to gain in their skills and confidence the process has been lost in detail and acrimony. The resignation of Prof Shelly Heard as National Clinical Advisor to the MMC and Prof Alan Crockard as the MMC National Director only serve to underline the concerns being expressed by junior doctors.

"We need to bring in a greater strategic focus to workforce planning not just to the training of junior doctors but to everyone who works across our health service." ENDS

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