Allowances towards rent and living costs to help support doctors serve their patients in areas with ‘rental hot spots’ should be explored, according to postgraduate training colleges.
Responding to the Medical Independent (MI) on issues it would like examined to support trainees during the upcoming NCHD changeover, an RCSI spokesperson said there were “challenges” for trainees in a sub-optimally resourced system with increasing service demands.
“A good hospital-based induction is essential but there are practical issues that should be addressed urgently by the hospitals and the HSE. These would include the ongoing problem trainees face in relation to being on emergency tax as they move from employer to employer.”
The RCSI’s spokesperson continued: “Around the country there are rent ‘hot spots’ and in other countries there are allowances towards rent and living costs to help support healthcare staff to serve their patients in these areas. Many of our international NCHDs have additional visa and work permit costs and processes which could be improved or better supported.”
Speaking to MI, RCPI President Prof Mary Horgan agreed that “innovation” around rent subsidy and moving costs would increase attractiveness of posts for trainees and help offset hospitals’ significant expenditure on locums.
On other improvements needed in the changeover process, Prof Horgan added: “Because of the EWTD [European Working Time Directive] the old tradition of you rounding with the same consultant and being a part of the same team all the time has had to change, so what we need to do is look at any of the deficiencies that are there, any themes that stand out, so that we as a training body can really focus in on those.
“A lot of it also very much depends on us getting feedback from the hospitals on the ground, to see if there are any particular issues we can address as a training body.”
The IMO has indicated it will put the issue of financial support for NCHD relocation under greater focus.