NOTE: By submitting this form and registering with us, you are providing us with permission to store your personal data and the record of your registration. In addition, registration with the Medical Independent includes granting consent for the delivery of that additional professional content and targeted ads, and the cookies required to deliver same. View our Privacy Policy and Cookie Notice for further details.

Don't have an account? Subscribe



RCPI visits hospitals in Kerry, Westmeath, and Cavan

By RCPI - 03rd Mar 2024

RCPI visits hospitals
Pictured L-to-R: (Back Row) Dr John Fitzsimons, RCPI Trainer; Dr Diarmuid O’Shea, President, RCPI; Ms Mary Fitzgerald, General Manager, University Hospital Kerry; Prof Conor O’Keane, RCPI Trainer; Dr Claire O’Brien, Consultant Physician; and Mr Colm Small, Head of Postgraduate Training, RCPI. (Front Row) Dr Lorraine O’Neill, Consultant Rheumatologist; and Prof Trevor Duffy, Head of Healthcare Leadership, RCPI Photo: Domnick Walsh

A delegation from the RCPI has been visiting hospital sites across the country to connect and engage with trainees, members and Fellows, and healthcare professionals

Health services across Ireland are under immense and growing pressure. The resilience of all healthcare professionals has been stretched, training has been impacted, and the working environment has been challenging. The landscape in which medical care is delivered, as well as societal expectations, are changing all the time. As Ireland’s largest postgraduate training body, the RCPI has a vital role to play in understanding and addressing the nuanced challenges facing doctors in providing patient care in a changing work environment – an evolving virtual space that aims to further integrate the delivery of treatment and care across the new HSE health regions.


Dr Diarmuid O’Shea, President of the College, was part of the delegation that visited University Hospital Kerry, Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, and Cavan General Hospital, where valuable insights into the unique challenges and opportunities within each hospital and community setting emerged.

“Connecting and engaging through site visits, meetings and events, receiving feedback, and sharing ideas, empowers the College to better meet the needs of our doctors and the communities we deliver modern medical treatment and care to,” Dr O’Shea said.

“It is as inspiring, as it is impressive, to see the commitment that all healthcare staff demonstrate in providing quality care to patients around the country, during such busy times.

Ms Suzann O’Callaghan, General Manager, Cavan General Hospital; Dr Diarmuid O’Shea; Ms Audrey Houlihan, CEO, RCPI; and Dr Jawaid Azam, Consultant Geriatrician
Photo: Lorraine Teevan

“We were delighted with the time people took to meet with us and share their experiences, concerns, and what’s working well. There was an overwhelming eagerness to be involved in delivering on progress because everyone wants to be part of shaping the future landscape of training and healthcare delivery in Ireland.”


During the visits to Tralee, Mullingar, and Cavan, the RCPI was warmly welcomed by consultants, specialty leads, SpRs, NCHDs, and senior medical officers and members of the management teams. There was great participation in the quality improvement sessions led by Prof Conor O’Keane and Dr John Fitzsimons, generating plenty of innovative ideas around knowledge sharing across hospitals.

With discussions focused on improvements in training and the workplace, many highlighted the role of the College in advocating on behalf of its trainees, members, and doctors not on training schemes working in hospitals of all sizes, while some articulated their desire to become more involved in the College.  Locally, doctors described the visits as energising and encouraging. Given the many competing pressures doctors face, a feeling of being valued and appreciated in the workplace contributes to a person’s ability to do their job well, in addition to improving the delivery of quality patient care.

Dr Louise Ward, SpR Medicine, Geriatrics; Dr Diarmuid O’Shea; and Dr Graham Cummiskey, SpR Medicine, Geriatrics, at Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar
Photo: John McCauley

Dr O’Shea said it was very clear that we all share an unwavering commitment to high quality patient care. However, he said that working conditions and environments are growing in complexity as staff retention and workforce planning issues become ever more prevalent, which weakens the collective ability to deliver consistent high-quality patient care.

Dr Claire O’Brien; Mr Ayyappan Sudhakaren, Clinical Nurse Manager; Dr Lorraine O’Neill; and Dr Diarmuid O’Shea at University Hospital Kerry
Photo: John McCauley

“Now more than ever we must work actively together to attract and retain healthcare professionals in Ireland and advocate for practical and immediate improvements to better support physician wellbeing and positive patient outcomes. Beyond ‘civility’ in the workplace, it is important for all of us to contribute to the spirit of collegiality and collaboration in our place of work.”


The final recommendations of the national NCHD taskforce were published by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on 7 February 2024. This has brought into sharp focus the training, workplace culture, retention, and work-life balance issues facing our doctors daily.

Dr Shu Hoashi, Consultant Endocrinologist; and Dr Diarmuid O’Shea at Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar
Photo: John McCauley

Welcoming the report, Dr O’Shea thanked Minister Donnelly, Prof Anthony O’Regan, Chair of the taskforce, and its members who have, through broad consultation, captured the critical working environment, support and resources required now to meet the health needs of our population.

“We must have a strong professional voice and leadership to continue improving healthcare delivery and training for all healthcare professionals. The RCPI is committed to collaborating with stakeholders to implement the report’s recommendations.”

Dr O’Shea has convened a meeting of key stakeholders, with broad representation across the sector, to define the College’s role in delivering a system better suited to physician training and healthcare delivery in Ireland in the years ahead. 

This article was produced by the RCPI.

Leave a Reply






Latest Issue
The Medical Independent 23rd April 2024

You need to be logged in to access this content. Please login or sign up using the links below.


Most Read