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The development comes as almost 1,500 doctors have signed a petition, launched by the IMO, calling for an end to unpaid induction for interns.
Mr Anthony Owens, IMO Director of Industrial Relations, Consultants and NCHDs, told the Medical Independent the move is being made to protect staff working in the intern position, which is the most junior grade of NCHD and is the first grade that doctors work in following graduation from medical school.
“However, in many cases, the period of unpaid induction has been extended to cover a full working week, or more. It creates a very poor first impression for doctors when their first engagement with the public health service is mandatory unpaid work. This also needs to be set against the backdrop of an acknowledged NCHD retention crisis, which affects every part of the country,” Mr Owens said.
Inductions for interns has become an issue in recent years as the length of inductions has steadily increased. A survey conducted by the IMO revealed that the average length of an intern induction is now 40 hours — a full working week.
Mr Owens said the IMO was forced to refer the matter to the WRC because of a lack of engagement from the HSE on the matter.
He added that the IMO would be happy to hear from other interns interested in joining the case.
As part of its petition, the IMO has called on the HSE Human Resources and National Doctors Training and Planning sections to implement “a standardised induction programme across all intern networks that provides all required information and training in as short a period as possible”.
The Organisation is also seeking the provision of required training to allow interns to begin work in a healthcare setting, which is provided to other health service workers.
A strict prohibition of inductees from clinical duties, as they are not indemnified to provide these services prior to their employment, is being sought, as well as a “nanny intern” programme nationwide after commencement of employment to complement the “shadowing” that is required in many intern networks during the induction period.