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General NCHD ‘self-isolation’ before July changeover not currently planned

No general period of self-isolation is currently planned for NCHDs moving to other acute hospitals as part of the July changeover, according to the HSE.

“The NCHD changeover is proceeding as normal on 13 July 2020,” a HSE spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) on 6 May.

“Any new NCHDs to the Irish system who are entering the country from abroad are required to self-isolate for 14 days before they commence employment. This is being factored in by the HSE and NCHDs from overseas will be arriving into Ireland, in the majority of cases, earlier than usual in order to facilitate the period of self-isolation.”

Speaking to MI on 5 May, Mr Paul Maier, IMO Industrial Relations Officer, said confirmation that the changeover was proceeding was positive news. “Despite being in an emergency it is important NCHDs continue to have the opportunity to train and develop their skills.”

However, the union was cognisant that it would be the first widespread movement of doctors during the Covid-19 crisis and had noted that healthcare staff in the residential care sector were advised to self-isolate before commencing work in a new location.

In this context it suggested a potential ‘staggered’ changeover, if required.

The IMO was not saying the changeover was unsafe, but was trying to be constructive around any potential risks or stipulations that could arise, said Mr Maier.

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