IMO condemns treatment of recruited foreign doctors on RTE Six-One News
Irish Medical Organisation

IMO condemns treatment of recruited foreign doctors on RTE Six-One News


RTE Six-One News 22nd September 2011

Dr Ronan Boland, IMO President, spoke with Fergal Bowers, RTE, in a report on the current position of Indian and Pakistani hospital doctors recruited by the HSE. 
This is followed by an in-studio interview with HSE spokesman, Dr Philip Crowley. 

 
Bryan Dobson:
Now the Irish Medical Organisation has condemned the Health Service Executive for what it claims is the poor treatment of hospital doctors recruited from India and Pakistan to fill vacant posts here.  A number of doctors have told RTE News that they’re still not working and so the system has let them down badly.  Some two hundred and eighty doctors were originally recruited to work in this country. This evening the HSE said that one hundred and eighty were now at their posts.

Fergal Bowers:
These three doctors from India and Pakistan came to Ireland in early August following a HSE recruitment campaign at the start of the year for hospital doctors urgently needed to fill vacancies from July.  None of these doctors is working yet, the doctors did not wish to be identified but this Indian doctor said the Irish system had let them down badly.

Unnamed Indian Doctor:
Well we are not in work, we are facing is, we have been drained out financially, we have drained out emotionally, we have been drained out socially.  This is not the proper way, we didn’t expect it from a civilisation, from a country like Ireland, to be treated in this way.
 
Fergal Bowers:
Today the Irish Medical Organisation condemned the HSE for the poor treatment of doctors.  It said doctors who had passed all necessary requirements were still not working and felt vulnerable and fearful.
 
Dr. Ronan Boland; (President, IMO)
Many of these doctors have long since completed a vetting procedure which is required of them to work in this country.  They’ve left their families behind, they’ve left jobs behind in their own country and they’ve come here to work and in some cases, three months later, these doctors are still not working here.

Senator Colm Burke: (Fine Gael Seanad Health Spokesperson)
I think they’ve been treated in a disgraceful manner by the HSE, they do not have an income, they have young families to support back at home, and they’re extremely disappointed.

Fergal Bowers:
The Medical Council said there are twenty-five cases where the HSE has not provided documentation for the doctors to be cleared to work.  It also said its exams concluded in mid August and the HSE did not say that extra candidates would arrive here.  Two hundred and eighty doctors were recruited by the HSE to fill one hundred and ninety vacancies.  The HSE says that one hundred and eighty doctors have now taken up their posts and that the surplus would help fill vacancies normally filled by locums.  It says that the frustration felt by some doctors is down to what it claims is the duration and complexity of the registration process.  The Executive said it had reimbursed travel costs and doctors were getting food and accommodation.  Fergal Bowers,  RTE News, Dublin.

...
Bryan Dobson:
Staying with that we’re joined here in studio by Dr. Philip Crowley, who’s National Director of Quality and Patient Safety with the Health Service Executive, which was involved in this recruitment process and, Dr. Crowley, bringing over, I think up to two hundred and eighty, you hoped at one stage, doctors to come here, and we learned today that a substantial number of them are still waiting, still not being paid, still aren’t on the HSE payroll, still waiting for their assignment to the hospitals that they will hope eventually to be working at.  What’s been the delay, what’s the problem?
 
Dr. Philip Crowley: (National Director of Quality & Patient Safety, HSE)
Well I think it has been a very complicated process.  We’re responsible for the employment of these doctors, settling them into their new posts, ensuring that they’re well looked after when they come to work here and that they gain access to higher training and education which is what we want for them.  The Medical Council is responsible for their registration and the Government have been responsible for passing entirely new legislation to create an entire new division for these doctors and we’ve had, the professional bodies have created seven new examinations appropriate to doctors at this level because these are high quality, highly trained doctors, we didn’t want them sitting the original Medical Council exam which is suitable only for interns so we created seven new examinations and that has all taken time.  I think I am frustrated that it’s taken so much time but I think it has been a learning process because it has not been easy.  The vast majority of our doctors are now registered and working.
 
Bryan Dobson:
Well we’re still talking I think it would be up to thirty-five of them who are still in this limbo, I mean they’re here maybe four or six weeks at this stage and they’re still being left in a position where they don’t know when they’re actually going to get assigned to a hospital, in many cases they left jobs in India or Pakistan to take up these posts.
 
Dr. Philip Crowley:
Well we cannot place doctors in employment until they’re registered with the Medical Council, there are stringencies in relation to getting registered with the Medical Council that are designed specifically to ensure the safety of patients and we completely support that.  We made that very clear to the doctors before we recruited them and in some cases there are documentation delays in relation to documents that need to come from India or Pakistan to here, in some cases the HSE has not produced all the documentation that’s needed to do, although I believe it has done so at this stage. 
 
Bryan Dobson:
So you’re saying the HSE has done everything that’s required of it now at this point?

Dr. Philip Crowley:
I believe we’ve done virtually everything, there may be one or two documents that we haven’t produced for one or two doctors but the majority of the documents have been produced, the majority of doctors are indeed registered and I think the situation of those few doctors is frustrated and I share their frustration.

Bryan Dobson:
But the Medical Council, and we’ve been speaking to them today, say that they warned you in the early part of this year, when this process was getting underway, that it would take time, there would be delays, and that doctors shouldn’t even be brought to this country until all that documentation was sorted out and they’re ready to do that final assessment and final exam and you chose to ignore that advice.
 
Dr. Philip Crowley:
Well we didn’t ignore that advice because we’re been working very closely with the Medical Council and everything we’ve done the Medical Council have been fully aware of and we’ve a very good relationship with the Medical Council and I hold it as a very important relationship for us as an employer.  Look it, we had to establish seven new specialty examinations, I don’t think ourselves, professional bodies or the Medical Council were aware of how complex all of this was going to be...
 
Bryan Dobson:
But it is the case, is it then, that they do say you’re not going to be able to do this in the timescale it’s envisaged.

Dr. Philip Crowley:
They said that it could take some time, depending particularly on whether they have their documentation in order.
 
Bryan Dobson:
Right then you actually went ahead with not just recruiting these doctors but actually bringing them to this country.

Dr. Philip Crowley:
Yes, we brought them here because they have to be here, physically present, to sit this examination.  We’re always explaining to the doctors...

Bryan Dobson:
They could have had their documentation presumably checked, that could be done at a distance.

Dr. Philip Crowley:
That could be done at a distance, yes, but if they’ve got some of the documentation at least we can work with them here and help them get their documentation in order, which we have done.
 
Bryan Dobson:
And those left with little or no income, in temporary accommodation, wondering what’s going to happen to them.  Is that a fair way for any employer to treat employees?
 
Dr. Philip Crowley:
I’ve worked overseas and I’m very very attuned to the importance of looking after these doctors on an ethical basis and I believe we are doing so, I believe there have been unacceptable delays for a small number of them and I think we’re addressing those urgently as we speak.

Bryan Dobson:
Alright, Dr. Philip Crowley, thank you indeed for talking to us on Six-One.
 
 

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