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Prof Alf Nicholson, National Clinical Lead for Paediatrics, was giving an update on the progress of the model of care for paediatrics at the RCPI Faculty of Paediatrics Autumn Conference, which was held on 12 October.
The National Model of Care for Paediatric Healthcare Services was developed by the National Clinical Programme for Paediatrics/Neonatology and approved by the HSE in June 2016.
Speaking to MI following his address, Prof Nicholson agreed that consultant recruitment and retention challenges could impact the new National Children’s Hospital (NCH) and the wider model of care for paediatrics. Concerns regarding consultant recruitment for the children’s hospital were raised at the recent IHCA AGM.
“I think so, yes. I think the same would apply both to the recruiting of consultants in the [new] children’s hospital and recruiting around the country,” he said.
Referring to the lower pay scale for new-entrant consultants, Prof Nicholson said it was “a significant issue for people who are working and living abroad”.
“ …because they might be working with colleagues [if they return to Ireland] who would be on a significantly higher salary for the same work. And that’s a disincentive for them to come home, so we would want to change that.”
Prof Nicholson also said the new children’s hospital would be the “focal point of tertiary paediatric care in Ireland”.
He said there was an estimate of €400 million for the implementation of the model of care for paediatrics, which includes €45 million associated with developments at the NCH.