The HSE Policy in respect of consultant appointments including psychiatry, both permanent and temporary, has a requirement that they are on the relevant Specialist Register. In March 2008, the HSE amended the qualifications specified for consultant posts to require registration in the relevant specialist division of the Register of Medical Practitioners at the Medical Council. The rationale for the change was the imperative to ensure that consultants employed in the public health system have the appropriate training, skills, competences and qualifications to deliver care as assessed by the Medical Council which has the statutory role of protecting the public by promoting the highest professional standards amongst doctors practising in the State. The Consultants’ Contract 2008 reflects this requirement.
HSE HR Circular 021/2017 addressed in detail the qualifications required for consultant posts. The effect of this is that applicants who are not registered in the relevant specialist division cannot be appointed to a permanent consultant post in a HSE hospital or service or in a Section 38 agency funded by the HSE.
The HSE has advised however that there are circumstances where it has been required to continue to appoint doctors who were not on the Specialist Register to fill consultant posts that were vacant so that essential services could be delivered. A process is in place where the Hospital Groups provide an assurance to the appropriate National Service Director that the required relevant supervisory supports are in place for Consultants not on the Specialist Register.