Dáil Éireann - Volume 591 - 28 October, 2004
Written Answers. - Hospital Services.
Ms Cooper-Flynn Ms Cooper-Flynn
121. Ms Cooper-Flynn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the steps which will be taken, given the demands of the working time directive, to provide extra training places and institutional support for doctors and other medical professionals. [26424/04]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
Ms Harney: The report of the national task force on medical staffing — Hanly report — sets out the changes needed in NCHD work patterns; a series of reforms in medical education and training, the number of additional consultants needed and how they should work under a significantly revised contract. The report emphasised that change could not be achieved without reform of acute hospital services. While additional medical training places will be required to implement the restructuring the ratio of consultants to non-consultant hospital doctors, it is not anticipated that additional training places will be required specifically to meet the requirements of the directive.
Following the publication of the Hanly report, the medical education and training group, MET, which formed part of the task force, remained in place to ensure NCHDs can access high quality training while the EWTD is being implemented. The group comprises representatives from the Medical Council, health employers, various statutory agencies and the IMO. The MET group published a set of training principles agreed with the Medical Council, each of the postgraduate training bodies and the Department in July 2004. The agreed principles will be used by employers and training bodies when discussing new rosters — both at national and local level. Local implemen tation groups will be tasked with progressing the principles, which are available on the Department’s website at www.doh.ie. Separately, the DOHC and the Irish higher surgical trainees group have agreed a series of rostering principles for higher specialist trainees in surgery. These are available on the website.
The group has been asked to examine and report to me on the measures required to accommodate NCHD training in all postgraduate training programmes within a 48-hour working week; facilitate NCHDs in addressing skills deficits, which may hinder entry to the specialist register; safeguard both training and service delivery during the transition to a 48-hour working week; identify the barriers to improving graduate retention; address obstacles to the conduct of academic health research; and improve access to international training opportunities for Irish doctors in training.
The group has also been asked to consider and make recommendations on issues relating to competence-based specialist training; the role of the university sector in postgraduate medical education and training; and the implications of the draft EU directive on the recognition of professional qualifications as it relates to medical practitioners. The group will engage closely with the appropriate section of the Department of Health and Children to assist it in accommodating the integrated education and training functions proposed by the task force within the structures announced by the Government in June 2003, following publication of the Brennan and Prospectus reports. It is anticipated that the group will report before the end of the year.
Approval in principle was recently given to the allocation of more than €5 million, under various headings, to support the implementation of the European working time directive. These broad headings include projects to enhance medical education and training in association with training colleges, the Medical Council, etc; enhanced medical education and training facilities on hospital sites; support for health service agencies in implementing the EWTD; priority projects under the remit of the national co-ordinator for EWTD implementation; and educational and recruitment supports.
Significant work is being undertaken in the context of industrial relations negotiations to progress issues relating to how rosters are designed and implemented in hospitals. It is my hope that all these measures will ensure doctors are fully supported in terms of training in a reduced working hours environment.
Dáil Éireann 591 Written Answers. Hospital Services.