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The CAAC expressed strong concern to the HSE last year over new requirements that Executive pre-approval for funding was necessary in order for posts to be forwarded to the Committee for consideration. The instruction from the Acute Hospitals Division (AHD), which came into force in July 2016, is understood to have arisen from the condition that recruitment for new staff had to come from existing hospital budgets.
According to minutes of the CAAC meeting in September, a list was circulated of posts approved at the previous meeting and their status regarding funding approval. “Posts which were recommended for approval at that time but now found to be lacking funding approval will be paused, and the letters of approval withheld until funding is confirmed,” stated the minutes.
At the CAAC meeting in October, it was stated that the new requirement of AHD confirmation of funding for posts has further delayed the issuing of letters of approval.
Committee members raised concerns that there may be a perception that the CAAC was the source of the delays.
It was agreed that the Committee Chair should write to the IMO, IHCA and Forum of Irish Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies, informing them of the new requirements.
The matter was also discussed at the November and December meetings of the CAAC.
In December, CAAC member Dr Colm Henry updated the Committee about a meeting with Ms Helen Byrne of HSE AHD regarding the Committee’s concerns about the impact of the AHD Pay Bill Management Committee on the CAAC processes.
Dr Henry advised that the AHD committee had no intention of replicating the work of the CAAC and that its function was to seek assurance that funding had been secured for posts.
A meeting was arranged for 20 December with the AHD to discuss the CAAC’s concerns.
Speaking to MI, Mr Anthony Owens, IMO Assistant Director, Industrial Relations, commented: “It is concerning if any impediment is being put in the way of getting additional consultant posts into the system, particularly when there is a demonstrable clinical need.”