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IHCA warns new Council report confirms ‘recruitment crisis’

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has warned that the recent  Medical Council trainee doctor report “confirms” a recruitment and retention “crisis” of consultants in Ireland.

The IHCA was commenting following the publication of the Medical Council’s ‘Your Training Counts Report for 2019 – 2020’ which shows that 44 per cent of trainees intend to go abroad to practise medicine.

The IHCA said that this report was further evidence “of the recruitment and retention crisis of doctors and consultants” in the Irish health system.

“This report is a much needed ‘wake-up call’ for the Minister for Health and the health service management,” said IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine.

“At a time when we need more specialist consultants and doctors, we are losing them. The loss of these highly trained specialists to the health service, together with the continued overreliance on non-training posts and agency or locum staff, is a core reason why we have lengthening patient waiting lists and around one in five approved permanent consultant posts unfilled on a permanent basis.

“Despite Ireland producing the highest number of medical graduates in the OECD, we are still experiencing significant vacancies.

“We have yet to see the required leadership and direction from the HSE and Department of Health on plans to meet the need for an estimated 53 per cent increase in the number of consultants working in acute hospital-based specialties by 2028, let alone any concrete solutions to fill the one in five permanent approved posts that are currently vacant or filled on a temporary basis.”

Commenting on the current talks about a new consultant contract Prof Irvine said “It is essential that the ongoing Consultant contract discussions deliver on the ‘unambiguous commitment’ made by the Minister for Health to resolve this pay inequity issue.”

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