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The Medical Council has urged the Government to institute plans to retain doctors completing internships in 2020 and 2021, by ensuring there are appropriate roles available for them.
The recommendation is contained in a Council report on resuming non-Covid-19 healthcare services, which was submitted to the Department of Health and HSE. It was devised following a consultative process with patient groups, doctor representative groups and postgraduate training bodies.
The Council has also recommended that a Bill containing amendments to the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 be prioritised by Government “to allow access to training schemes for non-EU doctors working in the Irish health service to further assist with retention”.
The Council described public communications as “vital to provide reassurance as services resume. Patients need to be informed on when and how these services will resume, and how routine services will operate going forward.”
Attention was also drawn to doctor wellbeing, with the report noting that “doctors along with other healthcare professionals and frontline workers, continue to face greater stress and pressures due to Covid-19. In the return of non-Covid care, a surge of patients seeking treatment and resumption of routine appointments is anticipated. This, in the context of limited resourcing, will compound these challenges.
“Supports for doctors should be highlighted and promoted in addition to doctors taking an active role in maintaining their own personal wellbeing and supporting their colleagues.”
Increased investment and development of community-based patient services and further development of telemedicine, to complement in-person care, are also advised.