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Council ‘very concerned’ about protected training time breaches

The Medical Council “is very concerned” about a “consistent pattern” of failure to comply – or fully comply – with the requirement for protected training time for both trainers and trainees.

“This issue has been repeatedly raised with the HSE and the training bodies; and the Medical Council will continue to strongly advocate on behalf of doctors until the matter has been appropriately addressed,” a spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI).

The Council has inspected clinical training sites across all but one Hospital Group since it commenced inspections in 2017. The final Hospital Group inspection was deferred due to Covid-19 restrictions. According to the Council’s spokesperson, there have been “several positive actions” resulting from its inspections.

A HSE spokesperson told MI guidance on delivery of protected training time was agreed with the Forum of Irish Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies and the IMO as outlined in a 2014 document.

“To ensure NCHDs have access to PTT [protected training time], the HSE has tasked the national European Working Time Directive (EWTD) implementation and verification group with the assessment of employers’ compliance with PTT. The group includes representatives from the HSE, IMO, and Department of Health.

“A key part of the group’s work is site visits to hospitals and mental health services. Prior to visits, the group requires hospitals/services to report on implementation of PTT.

“The group then requires that NCHD representatives are included in site visit meetings to verify the accuracy of reported compliance with PTT requirements. Compliance with PTT is also monitored by training bodies through feedback provided by trainees and as part of the training site inspection/accreditation process.”

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