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Audit reports identify need for consultant work practice plans

The lack of complete work practice plans for consultants was criticised in reports by the HSE’s internal audit division last year, the Medical Independent can report.

In an audit of consultants’ public and private practice in University of Limerick Hospitals Group, completed in February 2019, a sample review identified work practice plans and various versions of work schedules on file for only eight of 15 consultants (53 per cent).

“Some were noted to be sketchy on detail for activities, time allocation to activity, total hours work, etc,” according to the report.

Only three of the eight documents presented a complete plan denoting allocated times for public and private practice and total weekly hours.

In another HSE internal audit report for consultant practice in Connolly Hospital, Dublin, from January 2019, it was noted that work practice plans “were not available” for eight out of the 15 consultants assessed.

The issue was also identified in another consultant public/private report relating to Cork University Maternity Hospital conducted by the division and completed in May 2019.

According to the report, the work practice plans were “hand-written in multiple formats” and did not include the total scheduled number of weekly hours.

All three reports referenced the fact that many work practice plans were not signed off by a senior consultant or clinical director. It was recommended that complete plans are in place for all consultants to facilitate the monitoring of contractual terms and conditions.

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