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Medical Council criticises ‘protracted’ DoH staff approvals

According to the Council’s Business Plan 2016, the situation has been “further negatively impacted” by the decision of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) “not to give delegated sanction to the Department of Health for the Medical Council”.

While there is an agreed staff ceiling for the Council, the requirement for approval to replace staff leads to “a protracted process” to fill positions. This has a “serious impact” on business continuity and can increase costs if temporary or contract staff are required to complete core work while this process is undertaken, according to the Business Plan 2016

A workforce plan was submitted to the Department of Health in late 2015 and the Council said it “looks forward” to discussions at an early juncture in 2016 “so that processes can be streamlined to ensure that resourcing meets the needs of the organisation to fulfil its statutory remit”.

The Council envisages requiring a staff complement of over 76 to implement the Business Plan 2016 and ensure delivery of its Statement of Strategy 2014-2018.

According to a Council spokesperson, it has a current staff ceiling of 69. The spokesperson said there are many variables that will affect the number of staff required over the next few years, including amendments to legislation. However, they said the Council is working with the Department of Health and DPER on an ongoing basis “to ensure our workforce is fit for purpose and developed in line with our business needs”.

A Department of Health spokesperson told MI that when requests are made for replacement staff and all the relevant information is provided to support the business case for those staff, the turnaround time is normally only a matter of days. 

“If the grade of staff are at PO level or if there is a change in functions, communication with DPER may be required and this will take a short time longer. Approval has already been given this year for two senior posts – Director of Corporate Services (formerly Director of Finance) and Director of Professional Development and Practice, together with a number of other more junior posts in the Council.”

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