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Increase in NCHD training places ‘not possible’ before July – Department

It will “not be possible” to increase NCHD training places for the July changeover, a Department of Health spokesperson has told the Medical Independent (MI) this afternoon.

Under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, the approval of training places rests with HSE National Doctors Training and Planning, which proposes annually the number to the Medical Council, noted the Department spokesperson. 

“It would not be possible to increase the number in the timeframe to July. It is intended to increase the number of training places and reduce non-training places in future years. This will require additional funding.”

Earlier this week the IMO reiterated its call for additional training places for NCHDs as the July changeover draws nearer. The issue has been raised during a recent meeting the union had with Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Speaking to MI on 10 June, IMO Industrial Relations Officer Mr Paul Maier said there was “a fortuitous moment” for the health service if it wanted to retain doctors and stem the “brain drain” of recent years.

Many doctors are not now taking up training positions and fellowships abroad in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and Mr Maier referred to “anecdotal reports” of more doctors than training positions.

Mr Maier said “there is a tremendous opportunity to make sure these doctors stay in Ireland”. He said the IMO has “for years” said there were not enough doctors in the system and retention would be particularly important to deal with a potential resurgence of Covid-19.

He said the IMO was opposed to the growth in service posts without a training component.

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