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Some 180 consultant posts have been approved this year by the consultant applications advisory committee (CAAC), according to figures provided to this newspaper. Last year, the number of posts approved was 227, compared with 253 posts in 2018, a HSE spokesperson told the Medical Independent. The spokesperson said the number of posts filled “is not readily available and therefore would take more time to collate”. According to the IHCA annual report 2020, there were 495 permanent consultants posts vacant or filled on a temporary basis in public hospitals and mental health services as of the end of June 2020.
Meanwhile, this year will see an increase in the number of requests approved by the consultant type C committee for a change of contract, according to figures provided by the HSE. There were 27 approved requests for a change of contract to type C in 2020 to date, compared with 17 approved requests in 2019 and 20 in 2018. According to the Executive, the purpose of the CAAC is to provide independent and objective advice to the HSE on applications for consultants and qualifications for consultant posts.
“CAAC provides a significant opportunity for consultants to contribute their expertise and professional knowledge to the decision-making process for the development of consultant services throughout the country,” said the HSE spokesperson. The type C committee considers all requests for a change of contract to type C or designation of an approved post as type C. The CAAC has continued to hold monthly meetings by teleconference during the pandemic. The type C committee met in January and May this year.