The Minister for Health has posited the creation of a new “permanent non-consultant acute role” in the health service.
Minister Stephen Donnelly was speaking at the National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP) National Medical Workforce Conference in Dublin on 9 November.
Minister Donnelly said that “workforce planning also involves looking at new roles”. He said he wanted further progress in regard to physician associates, but also “the possibility, in the future, of a permanent non-consultant acute role”. The Minister added he wanted to “see far more NCHDs on training schemes” and “ultimately” wished “to get rid of the non-training posts”.
The interim report of the national NCHD taskforce, released in April, recommended reviewing the potential for “permanent service-grade doctors to take advantage of the considerable knowledge and experience of doctors who do not wish to pursue a consultant role”. It also recommended a review of other clinical roles, including that of physician associates, in the context of addressing NCHD workforce issues. The taskforce’s final report is due for publication.
At the NDTP conference, Minister Donnelly said he recognised that the health system needed more consultants. However, he argued that the new consultant contract “was getting a very strong response both from doctors here in Ireland, but also internationally – word is getting out”.