MANAGEMENT at Letterkenny General Hospital remain confident that five outstanding junior doctor posts will be filled in the coming weeks.
It follows confirmation that 117 of the 122 Non Consultant Hospital Doctor (NCHD) posts at Letterkenny General Hospital have been filled by doctors on either contract or locum basis.
Last week, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) warned that many junior doctor posts may be left unfilled in Irish hospitals in the coming weeks as current contracts expire and more and more Irish trained doctors go to work abroad.
The knock-on effect for patients is that hospitals are drawing up contingency plans which could see clinics and other services reduced in order to ensure control is maintained over standards of safety as the doctors switch jobs as part of their six-month training schedules.
The shortage of doctors means more payments of around €1,000 a day to agency staff who are needed to maintain rosters.
However, the HSE said the positions in Letterkenny will be filled.
“There are 122 Non Consultant Hospital Doctor posts at Letterkenny General Hospital and of this total, 117 have to date been filled by doctors on either contract or locum basis. We are awaiting some start dates as IMC registration is finalised, work permits and/or visas are processed. There are 5 posts not yet filled and the recruitment process is ongoing (interviews taking place etc),” she said.
“The doctors working at the hospital include those born here and overseas, doctors who have trained overseas or in Ireland, doctors who have worked in Ireland before and doctors who come from overseas and are taking up post here for the first time. We have doctors and staff from many different nationalities working at the hospital including Pakistan, Sudan, Croatia, India, South Africa, Great Britain, Spain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, USA and Ireland to name but a few,” she added.
In recent years half of all newly qualified doctors quit the country within a year of qualifying. As a result, over one-third of all hospital doctors registered with the Irish medical Council have come from overseas, often from countries with a great shortage of well-trained medical staff.
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