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HSE measuring uptake of consultant contract on weekly basis

By David Lynch - 12th Jun 2023

POC2023

The HSE is utilising the doctors integrated e-management system (DIME) to measure the uptake of the new Sláintecare consultant contract and is providing data on a “weekly basis” within the organisation. However, the HSE declined to provide figures to the Medical Independent (MI).

DIME is an online system developed to support the human resources aspects of medical training and workforce planning within the HSE. A HSE spokesperson confirmed to MI that the DIME system was “the key source for measuring the uptake of new entrants onto the public-only consultant contract 2023 (POCC23) and existing employees transferring to POCC23”.

The spokesperson added that “a number” of new contracts “have already been issued throughout the health services”. The spokesperson did not provide figures for the number of consultants who have signed up for the contract that became operational in early March. However, they added “it is early days in the implementation of the contract and the number of consultants employed on the terms of POCC23 will naturally increase over time”.

The new contract was discussed at a meeting of the Sláintecare programme board in March, where it was noted that the DIME system would be utilised to track contract uptake.

“The data will be reported to acute operations on a weekly basis and will include information on the current contract type for those existing employees who transfer to POCC23.”

In March, HSE National Director of Human Resources (HR), Ms Anne Marie Hoey, told the people and culture committee that local implementation groups had been set up in each Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) and Hospital Group.

“Briefing webinars have been provided for staff,” the minutes noted. “HR will commence writing to all consultants advising what the new contract entails for them.”

Speaking to MI last month, Irish Association for Emergency Medicine President Prof Conor Deasy said “the new Sláintecare contract will be welcomed,
I think, by and large, by emergency medicine consultants”.

“We work these hours anyway [under the new contract] and many of my colleagues are post-2012 [contract], so will see an uplift in their pay cheque as well as an uplift in their CME [continuing medical education] fund. So I think emergency medicine would be one of the groups like psychiatry, acute medicine, geriatrics, and others who will see opportunity in the new Sláintecare contract and sign up.”

However, some misgivings have also been expressed about elements of the new contract. At its national meeting in April, the IMO consultant committee called on the Department of Health and HSE to “engage further” with the Organisation to address “significant concerns” in relation to rostering, location, and locum provisions in the new contract.

Earlier this month (June) the HSE launched a national and international recruitment campaign to support the recruitment of consultants.

The new campaign “showcases the benefits” of the new public consultant contract, which the HSE said carries an “attractive salary” and a range of training benefits.

Ms Anne Marie Hoey, HSE National Director of HR, said: “This new recruitment campaign will specifically focus on recruitment of consultant doctors for our hospital and community services, where we hope to fill over 400 vacancies this year. We’ll be targeting people working in Ireland and internationally, both those who trained in Ireland, and new talent from international locations.

“We want to develop awareness of the variety of consultant posts available in Ireland, and make eligible clinicians aware that the new, generously remunerated consultant contract is live. Posts are available now in a range of specialties, and this contract marks another important step in implementing Sláintecare and improving access to our health service.”

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