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The report, Towards Successful Consultant Recruitment, Appointment and Retention, has found a disconnect between consultant posts and training programmes and limited engagement with trainees about future career opportunities. The report was produced for the HSE by an advisory committee led by former RCSI President Prof Frank Keane.
The committee found that the applications process for posts was inefficient, involving long and complex documentation. There were also no set timescales for advertising posts and the Public Appointments Service may wait weeks before receiving details of interview boards.
Among 33 recommendations is the need for a greater link to be established between consultant posts, workforce planning and training programmes, and for more engagement to take place with candidates. It also recommended that instead of applications being first sent to the Consultant Applications Advisory Committee and, once approved, for further documents to be submitted to the National Recruitment Service, that all documents should form part of a single pack to be submitted at the beginning of the application process.
This documentation should be shortened, with the ‘letter of approval’ and the ‘approve consultant appointment’ document available to candidates.
The consultant appointment document should include a job plan and statement of resources, while posts should be advertised within two weeks of approval. Furthermore, comprehensive guidance should be made available on the process for consultant applications.
Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI), Prof Keane said the issue of consultant recruitment was “multi-factorial”, including issues such as remuneration and working environment.
Prof Keane said that improvements to the appointments process could have a positive impact on recruitment.
“Many of the things we have proposed have been implemented,” he said. “What happens now is, there is going to be an education programme for human resource managers on the proposals. The document is trying to make things more explicit to everyone involved in the process. It is written down so the candidate or consultant can use it against the employer or the employer can use it against the candidate or consultant, if they don’t meet each other’s expectations.”