Irish Medical Organisation

European Doctors’ Organisation Criticises Irish Government on Treatment of NCHDs in Ireland

Clear link between poor conditions and high rates of emigration amongst Irish junior doctors

Wednesday 28th October 2015.  A leading representative group for European Junior Doctors (European Junior Doctors’ Permanent Working Group (EJD)) has strongly criticised the treatment of NCHDs in Ireland.  The EJD has explicitly linked the poor treatment of NCHDs in Ireland to the high rates of emigration a amongst Irish doctors.  The organisation has called for improved training and working conditions for NCHDs in Ireland. A delegation from the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) presented recent research conducted by the Medical Council and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland on doctor emigration from Ireland to the EJD at the EJD’s Autumn Meeting in Oslo on Saturday. The EJD’s general assembly unanimously adopted a motion that urged Irish government and health authorities to take much-needed steps to improve the training and working conditions of Irish NCHDs, and end the exodus of Irish-trained physicians.

The EJD noted in its statement that “many Irish-trained NCHDs are fleeing a health system that fails to properly regulate their working hours, and does not deliver their training in a manner that is effectively structured and supported”. The EJD concluded by highlighting the government and the HSE’s need to “guarantee the welfare, safety, and retention of the NCHDs it employs”.

The IMO’s Policy and International Affairs Officer, Cian O’Dowd, who attended the meeting, said that “many members of various national delegations, both publicly in the general assembly, and privately afterwards, expressed great concern at the level of emigration among NCHDs from Ireland, and were genuinely shocked by the extent of some of the problems that NCHDs here face, such as failures by the HSE to properly implement working time limits, and structure training in a way that supports NCHDs. These conversations confirmed what we’ve known for a long time; that the conditions in which NCHDs work in Ireland lag significantly behind those elsewhere in Europe”.

IMO Vice President and Chair of the IMO NCHD Committee, Dr. John Duddy, said of the statement that “this adds to the many voices who agree that treatment of NCHDs in Ireland must drastically improve if this country is to avoid what appears to be an impending medical manpower crisis. The findings of the Medical Council’s report on the career intentions of trainee doctors, which revealed that almost half of trainees were not committed to practising in Ireland, tally with those of the HSE’s employee satisfaction survey released earlier this year, which found disillusionment and dissatisfaction to be rife among medical professionals working in the health service”.

The IMO’s Have Your Say Campaign is continuing, with meetings planned in many hospitals over the coming weeks. The adversity NCHDs confront is a priority concern for the IMO, which hopes the government and the HSE heed the calls of Europe’s leading junior doctors’ organisation and urgently address the drivers of doctor emigration from Ireland.

Full EJD Statement here

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