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Ms Mannion relayed these concerns in her submission to the Independent Review Group examining private practice in public hospitals.
In her letter, Ms Mannion advised that in preparation for the submission, the Executive’s National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP) unit canvassed the views of Lead NCHDs on the topic.
They were asked how they believed the separation of private practice from the public system would impact the attractiveness of building a consultant career in Ireland and on the possibility of returning home following training or employment. They were also asked how they viewed current recruitment opportunities at consultant level in Ireland compared to abroad.
“While the canvassing of NCHDs’ views cannot be viewed as scientific, NDTP reports that, as a result of changes in the consultant contract resulting in the current contractual restrictions, a proportion of NCHDs would now be more likely to pursue a career in private practice in Ireland or to pursue a career [abroad],” Ms Mannion wrote to the Independent Review Group.
“Most NCHDs whose views were sought (and all of the surgical and anaesthetic Lead NCHDs) felt that having more flexibility between private and public practice would influence their decision to stay in Ireland or to return home to Ireland from abroad.”
The Sláintecare Report recommended the separation of private practice from public hospitals. In light of this recommendation, Minister for Health Simon Harris established the Independent Review Group to examine private practice in public acute hospitals.
The Group has been tasked with making recommendations about the practical approaches that can be taken to remove private practice from public hospitals, the impact that this removal will have, what timeframe might apply, how to phase recommendations over time and to identify any adverse and unintended consequences that may arise.
The Group is conducting an independent evaluation of these matters and Minister Harris has requested that it report to him by September.