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The IMO has raised concerns over interns having to undertake unpaid ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) training prior to the upcoming NCHD annual changeover.
The union has received reports from four of the six intern training networks in regard to incoming interns being required to attend ACLS and other in-person training as soon as this weekend (19/20 June). This is prior to the paid weeks of induction (beginning 28 June), and 'shadowing' (beginning 5 July), before the actual changeover on 12 July.
Senior Industrial Relations Officer Mr Paul Maier told the Medical Independent (MI) that this requirement of unpaid training outside of the two paid weeks prior to the changeover is "contrary to our position, but also to the HSE's national position".
After a number of years of campaigning, in 2019 the IMO secured payment for one week of induction.
"But still a lot of the sites would require the doctors to do more than just one week. One of the things they would require them to do would be to take this ACLS training," according to Mr Maier.
The IMO then filed a number of individual claims on the issue and it was the union's understanding that the matter had been resolved.
"In 2021, this year, not only was this one week paid induction approved, but the Minister for Health has also approved an additional [paid] week of shadowing," Mr Maier told MI.
"But despite the provision of two weeks [paid] prior to their start as interns, sites are requiring them to attend ACLS training outside of these two weeks."
Mr Maier said this goes against HSE policy.
"It appears these intern networks have decided off their own bat to do this, so we don't know exactly what is going on. From talking to our members and surveying them it appears that at, in at least four of the six intern networks, which are mostly the [same as the] Hospital Groups across the country, this is happening."
He referred to the difficulty posed because of the short notice and the particular "vulnerability" of interns beginning their first position.
"So our position is that if people are unwilling or unable to attend this training, then interns should be facilitated for training after the 28 June, and they should not suffer a penalty for that," he said.
"If people are available before the 28 June and they are generally okay with it, and some people are, they should be paid for the time they spend above and beyond the payment they receive for the two weeks of shadowing and induction.
"Finally, we want to see a real change in the way governance is done in the intern networks and on the intern training schemes, so this does not happen again."
One of way of doing this "is requiring sites to pay people above and beyond" for attending training outside of the paid two weeks prior to the changeover.