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RCSI Council raises ‘grave concerns’ over resources for new consultants

Members of the RCSI Council raised serious concerns over the support in place for new consultant posts announced by the HSE, the Medical Independent (MI) has learned. The concerns were aired at the 10 December meeting of the RCSI Council, the minutes of which were seen by MI following a Freedom of Information request.

Prof Deborah McNamara, Joint Clinical Lead, National Clinical Programme in Surgery, informed the meeting of allocation of funding by the HSE for 19 additional consultant posts across a range of surgical specialties. In response, Council members “expressed grave concerns” on resourcing to support the posts, according to the minutes.

The concerns related to “the lack of essential resources, the need for support staff and surgical infrastructure to be in place in advance of these appointments being made”. Separately, plans remain in place for 600 new consultant positions under a “Sláintecare contract” before the end of this year, according to the Department of Health.

“The HSE is planning to recruit approximately 600 additional consultants this year,” a Department spokesperson told MI.

“The Programme for Government provides for the finalisation of the Sláintecare contract and it is intended that it be made available this year following engagement with the representative bodies.

“The FEMPI Acts currently prohibit pay increases for serving public servants and require amendment to enable pay increases for consultants who move to the Sláintecare contract.”

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