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HSE finances trainees’ salaries at private companies

The HSE funds the salaries of occupational medicine trainees while they work for private companies as part of their training rotations, it has confirmed.

Until recently, funding was issued directly to the private companies from HSE National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP). In 2020, the funding arrangement was transferred to the HSE Workplace Health and Wellbeing Unit. The funding “no longer issues to private sites”, according to a HSE spokesperson.

“As part of their specialist training, occupational health trainees rotate to a number of private sites in order to gain appropriate clinical experience.

Previously, HSE NDTP provided funding to these clinical sites to cover the salary and employers PRSI costs for six specialist registrars (SpR) during these private site rotations,” according to the spokesperson.

“Commencing 2020, the funding arrangement has transferred from NDTP to the Workplace Health and Wellbeing Unit and this funding no longer issues to private sites. There are no reimbursement arrangements as the private sites do not provide salaries, etc, to the HSE. However, the HSE does not pay any overtime, etc, in relation to these posts and this is a matter for the private sites.”

The HSE did not provide an overall figure for the cost of covering full salaries for trainees at private companies. Dr Paul Gueret, founding partner of private company Medmark, said there is also an “informal” training pathway to specialist registration. He maintained the HSE funds “a limited of trainees, ie, on the formal training scheme and it’s up to private employers to fund those not on the formal training scheme”.

He said Medmark usually has one trainee on the “formal” scheme per year and “several who are not”.

Specialists in Occupational Medicine continue to seek consultant status on par with hospital colleagues who have completed comparable levels of higher specialist training. A significant proportion of occupational health service provision is now outsourced by the HSE to private companies.

The outgoing Dean of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, Dr Lynda Sisson, who is also Clinical Lead of the HSE Workplace Health and Wellbeing Unit and an Assistant National Director of Human Resources, recently told the Medical Independent that the lack of consultant status “doesn’t help” recruitment to the Faculty’s training programme.

Dr Sisson has recently been succeeded as Dean by Dr Robert Ryan, a managing partner at Medmark.

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