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New workforce group meets over BreastCheck recruitment problems

By David Lynch - 25th Jun 2023


Four consultant radiologist posts have been filled since last September and a new workforce group is meeting over BreastCheck recruitment problems, the HSE has stated.

Last September the Medical Independent (MI) reported on internal HSE concerns about the ability to recruit consultant radiologists for BreastCheck, which had led to plans to form a new working group. The breast radiology workforce group has been established and most recently met in April 2023. 

A risk in relation to the ability to recruit consultant radiologists for BreastCheck was discussed at the HSE safety and quality committee meeting in March 2022. Last September, a HSE spokesperson told MI there were 26 consultant radiologists working in BreastCheck; however, almost all of these doctors also worked in the symptomatic service or in general radiology in the four host hospital sites.

“Since September 2022, we have filled four radiologist posts,” the HSE’s spokesperson told MI. “International recruitment advertising is ongoing for locum radiologists and we are piloting new location-targeted recruitment campaigns.”

The spokesperson added that BreastCheck had secured funding for “additional radiology staffing hours in Galway and Cork and two radiology fellowships are beginning in our Eccles and Merrion units, respectively, this July”. 

“Short-term locum agency cover is in place, as is additional consultant support from the north of Ireland.”

The recently published National Screening Service strategy, Choose Screening, “sets out our priority to build our future workforce to ensure that we attract recruit and retain the talent to deliver a compassionate, participant-centred service.” 

“By [the] end of 2023, we aim to have developed a workforce plan that will support recruitment strategy, staff retention, and succession planning.”

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