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There were 109 consultants employed by the HSE at the end of April who were not on the specialist register of the Medical Council, according to figures provided to this newspaper. This compares with 153 consultants found not to be specialist-registered, following HSE site visits in 2018/2019.
The matter was discussed at the April meeting of the HSE’s people and culture committee, where members were told the number was declining. However, the committee considered the issue to be “very serious”.
“Challenges such as historical permanent contracts in place that contribute to this list were discussed,” according to the minutes. HSE National Director of Human Resources, Ms Anne Marie Hoey, advised there were protocols and controls in place to reduce such posts.
The committee raised concerns about patient safety and quality of care arising from the situation.
When the Regulated Professions (Health and Social Care) (Amendment) Act 2020 is commenced, “it is expected the number of consultants not on the specialist division will continue to reduce,” according to a HSE spokesperson.
They said the HSE had “put in place protocols to ensure the number of consultants not on the specialist division do not increase”. In addition, “monthly monitoring” of the number is taking place.