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Surgical training must be “explicitly accommodated in the outsourced model” to avoid prolonged training and reduced availability of newly qualified surgeons, the RCSI has warned. The accommodation of surgical training when public operative care is outsourced to the private sector should be explicitly protected in the contractual terms, according to the College.
“The RCSI appreciates the support in principle from the HSE in facilitating surgical training when surgical activity is outsourced to the independent/private sector,” a College spokesperson told the Medical Independent. “However, the RCSI feels that the written contract with the private sector should explicitly state that where care is outsourced to a private hospital, surgical training needs to be accommodated.”
The contract should include “details of a model on how to accommodate training in the outsourced setting”.
“Every opportunity for specialty training (including surgery) needs to be availed of to ensure that trainees will obtain the required competencies in practice required for CCST [certificate of completion of specialist training],” added the spokesperson.
“Unless this is explicitly accommodated in the outsourced model, training will be prolonged, thus reducing the numbers of those eligible for consultant appointment at a time when there is a critical shortage of consultants and a growing waiting list for scheduled care.”
A HSE spokesperson said it had worked with the Department of Health, training bodies, and the Medical Council “earlier this year to ensure that training would be maintained for surgical trainees as part of outsourcing arrangements during Covid”.
The HSE had assurances from the Medical Council that training in the private sector for HSE-funded elective procedures was recognised training.
The pandemic has “significantly” impacted trainees’ operative exposure, according to Prof Kevin Barry, RCSI Director of the National Surgical Training Programmes.
See news interview, Ensuring Irish surgical training remains ‘a cut above’ – Medical Independent