Thursday, 30 May 2013

Questions (263)

Billy Kelleher


263. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health his views on claims made by the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine of an expected significant worsening of the current, very precarious medical staffing levels in emergency departments here, that evidence from around the country currently indicates that staffing deficits will worsen significantly from July 2013 and that it is likely that many departments will have difficulty filling medical staff rosters with inevitable cuts in services and more prolonged waits for patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26287/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE is actively managing the recruitment process for the next rotation of Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors in order to ensure that as many as possible are recruited and that all critical service needs are met. (It should be noted that Registrars in Emergency Medicine are in short supply internationally.) A number of separate recruitment processes are currently underway including:

- Filling by the Postgraduate Training Bodies of posts on training schemes;

- HSE Centralised Applications process;

- Local recruitment - which fills approximately 70% of service posts;

- External HSE funded initiatives, including a partnership arrangement with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan and recruitment in South Africa. These initiatives are focusing on key specialties including Emergency Medicine.

In addition, the HSE is taking steps to improve the working conditions of NCHDs, enhance retention and, in particular, achieve compliance with the European Working Time Directive by the end of 2014. In this context, the HSE is working intensively with hospitals on measures to progress compliance with the requirements of the Directive and to facilitate the early introduction of electronic time recording and rostering systems.