The Director General of the HSE wrote to my Department on 13 May in response to requests that I and the Secretary General had made asking that the HSE address medical recruitment challenges, including issues raised by Justice Kelly concerning the appointment of doctors not on the Specialist Register to consultant posts.
The covering letter from the Director General confirmed the HSE's recognition of all aspects of medical recruitment and retention as a potential patient safety issue and its commitment to put a governance framework in place to deliver improvements in this area. It advised that the HSE is developing terms of reference for a Medical Workforce and Patient Safety Oversight Group supported by a project team to agree and oversee implementation of actions in relation to the following priority areas:
- Doctors employed by the HSE who are not on the Specialist Register,
- Non-Training Scheme NCHDs
- The recruitment process for NCHDs
- The recruitment process for consultants
- Retention of consultants and NCHDs, and
- The configuration of services that will best support the recruitment and retention of consultants and NCHDs , facilitate their training requirements and other needs.
The correspondence included a number of appendices, one of which was the Report of the NDTP Project Team on the Employment of Consultants Not Registered in the Specialist Division of the Register of Medical Practitioners. The Report highlights the work in train to address the position of those appointed to posts though not on the specialist register and the supervisory arrangements that are to be followed in such cases. It also addresses the issue of supporting such consultants to achieve specialist registration. The main attachment to the letter and other appendices addressed corporate governance and risk management arrangements.
The covering letter also advised that a further report on issues relating to NCHD recruitment, including the robustness of the appointment process is due to be completed in the coming months. The HSE has already issued directions to prospective employers of NCHDs highlighting the need to ensure that only properly qualified and competent doctors are recruited.
The position in relation to the Report referred to by the Deputy therefore is that it is currently receiving consideration as part of the broader submission.