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Training bodies must consider ‘stronger action’ – RCPI CEO

Speaking at an IMO AGM session titled ‘Irish Medical Graduates – Trained for Export’, Mr Leo Kearns said he was reaching the conclusion that unless there was “really strong action taken by the various players” to ensure training commitments were respected, there was no incentive on the system to change. “I can certainly see that the training bodies will have to take much stronger action with individual hospitals where they are not actually fulfilling their terms.”

Mr Kearns was responding to NCHD Committee member Dr John Duddy, who said “most hospital sites pay lip-service to NCHD education; we are told a one-hour journal club per week is a good education programme”. Dr Duddy said hospitals wanted “a body on the floor to staff the rota, to be in the clinic, to be down at A&E at 2 o’clock in the morning”. Lack of respect for training was affecting NCHD morale and retention, stated Dr Duddy.

Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI), Mr Kearns said: “We have to have a situation where there is a proper balance between the service requirement and the training requirement, and hospitals that want to have doctors going through training in their hospitals have got to take that responsibility seriously, and many hospitals do. There are lots of examples of good training experiences, but there are also examples, unfortunately, where that is not the case. And I think as training bodies, we have to make sure we can stand over wherever we are sending trainees.”

Asked if a site could be removed from a training programme, Mr Kearns said the first step would always be to work with the hospital to resolve the issue.

“In a case where we are seeing persistent problems and we don’t see any action being taken to resolve the problems or any great will either, then we can’t in all conscience put trainees in there, so we will have to look at putting them somewhere else.”

There was recognition of the service demands, he said, but doctors’ and patients’ long-term needs would not be served by a below-par training experience.

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