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29 posts at first-year basic specialist training were unfilled last year

This is according to information provided to the Dáil by Minister for Health Simon Harris earlier this month.

“However, these posts have been filled by doctors who are not on training programmes and are not vacant,” Minister Harris added.

The Minister said the HSE had assured him that the low take-up of training positions outside the capital was a matter that the Executive was focused on.

“The HSE has confirmed that the low take-up of training positions outside of Dublin is a priority and is being addressed,” said the Minster.

“Geographical distribution of trainees is a standing item on the biannual meeting between each training body and the HSE and forms part of the annual service level agreement between each training body and the HSE. All training programmes now include mandatory rotations outside of the Dublin area, and almost all have mandatory rotations to model 3 hospitals.

“There is a global shortage of doctors and intense competition amongst those in training to access the best training opportunities available,” he added.

“However, I am satisfied that the HSE recognises the need to support the distribution of training posts across the system as far as practicable and has introduced measures to ensure that the training model supports hospitals outside of Dublin to the greatest extent possible.”

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