I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to the up-to-date number of doctors working as consultants who are not on the specialist register of the Medical Council.
With regard to the steps taken to address the issue, the HSE has statutory responsibility in relation to consultant posts. My Department is currently engaged with the HSE in relation to issues relating to consultant recruitment.
The HSE policy in respect of Consultant Appointments, both permanent and temporary, requires that they are on the relevant Specialist Register. This rule is in place since March 2008. The HSE has put in place a detailed process to manage consultants who are not on the Specialist Register. In July 2017 the HSE issued clear instructions to all hospitals to ensure:
- all consultants not on the Specialist Register are identified, using the National Doctors Training and Planning DIME database;
- that a risk mitigation plan is put in place for each post where the appointee does not hold the relevant qualifications;
- where necessary, this plan should set up access to an appropriate arrangement for senior clinical oversight as required; and
- the Hospital Groups provide an assurance to the appropriate National Service Director that the required relevant supervisory supports are in place for those Consultants not on the Specialist Register.
It is currently pursuing a range of initiatives to improve the recruitment process and to support those who are not on the Specialist Register pursue registration.