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Currently, a project team is examining data regarding doctors not on training schemes in the healthcare system, with a focus on acute hospitals. The team is based in the HSE’s National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP) unit.
A HSE spokesperson said the project team was “exploring the associated issues in greater depth and will also be examining the potential options to optimise opportunities. The project team will continue to work with clinical leadership and a report document is expected to be finalised in autumn 2018.”
In a June 2014 report, a Working Group established to carry out a strategic review of medical training and career structure stated that there were approximately 900 doctors in service posts in the acute hospital sector and around 260 public and community health doctors. It described career structures and pathways for these doctors as “limited”.
The Group recommended that processes be put in place by the HSE, as a matter of priority, to consider how best to address this issue, having due regard to the needs and requirements of the public health system, including service reconfiguration and integrated models of care; patient safety and quality of the patient experience; registration, qualifications and training; clinical governance; CPD; and supervisory arrangements.
According to the Eighth Annual Assessment of NCHD Posts 2017-2018, there has been an increase in trainees occupying clinical posts in the Irish healthcare system since 2011 (3,412 to 3,947; 15 per cent), which corresponds with the NDTP policy of growing training capacity to accommodate the increasing number of exchequer-funded CAO graduates from Irish medical schools, combined with the introduction of the International Medical Graduate Training Initiative (IMGTI).
“However, there has been a disproportionate increase in non-trainee numbers over the same time period (1,524 to 2,286; 50 per cent). Even this latter figure is likely to be an underestimate, as it does not take account of NCHDs employed through recruitment agencies,” according to the report.