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According to the progress report, which relates to the period August 2017 to January 2018, NCHDs acknowledged “significant progress” had been made in areas such as flexible training; the recognition of prior learning in general practice; the medical careers day and medical careers website; National Employment Record; and Lead NCHD roll-out to general practice.
However, NCHDs reported “a general sense of inertia” with regard to the implementation process and described “no measurable changes” in working conditions over the past year.
“Certain issues, it was reported, which affected all trainees, had a negative impact on their training, working conditions, and private lives. Urgent action was required concerning three critical areas, viz protected training time; inadequate funding of training; and the non-transfer of tasks,” stated the progress report.
“With regard to these three areas, concern was expressed that hospitals were very service-focused, and [it was] felt that operational managers viewed NCHD training as ‘an optional extra’; trainees were of the view that they should not have to pay for mandatory courses, and that payments for these courses should be made directly by the HSE.”
It is intended that the HSE “will be requested to henceforth prioritise work” in the areas of protected training time; non-core task allocation; the reimbursement of education-related fees; and the issue of service posts.
“This new focus will be reflected in the format of future progress reports,” the report stated.
Under the MacCraith process, health service management and the IMO undertook to review the continuing education requirements of NCHDs “to ensure that the requisite financial and related resources are administered”. This was to be conducted through the Workforce Relations Commission.
The HSE informed the Medical Independent the review was ongoing and it was “confident that agreement will be reached”. A Programme for a Partnership Government (2016) committed to implementing “the remaining elements” of the MacCraith Report “to assist in the recruitment and retention of key medical staff”.
The MacCraith Working Group completed its work in June 2014 and, in all, submitted three reports with 25 recommendations.