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Paediatric haematology gaps were raised with HSE

Workforce deficits in paediatric haematology were highlighted by the Dean of the Faculty of Pathology, according to correspondence seen by the Medical Independent (MI).

Prof Hilary Humphreys, now Immediate Past Dean, informed the Director of HSE National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP) Prof Frank Murray that haematology services struggled to recruit doctors, particularly in niche sub-specialty areas such as paediatric haematology.

Less than one-in-12 haematology trainees choose this career trajectory, according to the correspondence sent in late 2018 and obtained from the HSE under Freedom of Information law.

Over the next 10 years, it is anticipated there will be nine paediatric haematology posts required (three replacement; six new) and a further three replacement posts in 10-to-15 years.

“Currently, the training system does not have enough capacity to train paediatric haematologists and an additional haematology SpR is urgently required in Crumlin,” wrote Prof Humphreys. “This will facilitate the allocation of trainees to paediatric haematology earlier in their training pathway with a view to developing a commitment to this sub-specialty.”

The Faculty requested an increase in haematology trainees from five to six in July 2019, “reflecting both an anticipated under-occupancy of SpR positions and looking to match future workforce planning”.

Commenting in November, an RCPI spokesperson told MI that six trainees commenced in July 2019. “There are currently 25 specialist registrars enrolled on the training programme and at least two trainees are pursuing sub-specialisation in paediatric haematology, although more junior trainees may not have determined their career paths at this stage.”

Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin advertised for a consultant haematologist post in early January 2019, with a closing date of mid-February. One application was received and subsequently withdrawn. The competition was closed and the post remained unfilled in late 2019.

A recruitment campaign in June 2019 for a consultant haematologist (clinical and laboratory) with a special interest in paediatric haematology was successful.

As of the end of 2019, there were 5.51 whole-time equivalent (WTE) consultant paediatric haematologists and three WTE SpRs across CHI at Crumlin and Temple Street.

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