The HSE has confirmed there will be an increase in the annual intake of medical interns this year from 734 to approximately 1,100, depending on how many students pass their final exams and accept an internship offer.
It has also stated that the matching process will follow the usual protocol of considering the top 50 preferences for posts. It is understood there were plans to consider a small number of options due to the huge administrative burden on the HSE. The IMO had highlighted the housing and support difficulties this may have caused for many incoming interns.
The medical interns recruited will take up their posts at the earlier start date of 18 May. Each post begins with an intern induction week, followed by assignment to clinical posts one week later, for an internship until July 2021.
Prof Frank Murray, Director of National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP), HSE, commented: “These new doctors are required in response to the pressures that will undoubtedly face our health service staff in the near future as a result of increased workload, reconfigured and realigned bed capacity, and reduced staffing numbers as a result of sick leave and self-isolation due to Covid-19. We are very grateful to the final medical students, medical schools, Intern Networks, HBS Recruit and the Medical Council for their support.”
In collaboration with the medical schools, the Medical Council and the HSE, there will be one intern matching process with all 50 choices explored.
Mr Paul Reid, CEO, HSE, thanked the medical schools and students for their hard work: “The medical schools have worked very hard to make this possible, with final medical exams taking place earlier than usual, and organising ‘virtual conferring ceremonies’ to enable registration of students as interns with the Medical Council of Ireland. The HSE is grateful to the medical schools and all medical students for their support and goodwill in undertaking the exams early and their support in these unprecedented times.”
Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE, added: “We owe a huge gratitude to the medical schools and our graduate doctors for stepping up to the mark as we prepare our health service for this pandemic. In years to come, they and their families can look back with pride at their role and contribution. I’d like to offer every assurance that patient safety and intern welfare will be maximised. Interns will not be asked to act beyond their competence or without adequate supervision. A set of guiding principles have been adopted to inform decisions made in this regard.”
It is anticipated that the majority of intern induction will now take place online in the week of 18-22 May. Intern Network Coordinators will consult with clinical sites regarding induction. Employers will issue contracts from the revised start date of 25 May to the normal end of internship in July 2021, ie, 11 July 2021.
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