Saturday 23 September 2017

€1,100 a night? GPs offered big money to cover shifts

HSE struggles with shortage of junior doctors

Picture posed. Thinkstock
Picture posed. Thinkstock
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

GPs are being offered €1,100 for an overnight shift in A&E as the HSE scrambles to make up the shortfall of junior doctors.

According to a HSE letter addressed to doctors in the Cork region last week, there is a need for  “experienced doctors who may be able to do one or more nights shifts (10pm to 8am) at a rate of €110 an hour”.

The lucrative offer, revealed by the Irish Medical News, has been slammed as ‘ridiculous’ by one advocacy group.

The rate is comparable to the weekly wage of a junior doctor and hospitals across the country, including Cork University Hospital, are finding it difficult to fill certain emergency room positions.

Hundreds of qualified Irish medics are leaving each year to take up better-paid positions overseas while the number of doctors arriving from countries such as Pakistan has fallen off.

The Irish Medical Organisation, meanwhile, has criticised the big money offer as “just another example of the HSE not dealing with the problem of recruitment to posts in emergency departments”. 

The HSE has confirmed that three emergency registrar posts – with a salary range of €972 to €1,238 per week – are as yet unfilled.

Therefore, a doctor who takes up the offer outlined in the HSE letter would earn twice as much for the shift than a registrar on the lower end of the pay scale.

Cork University Hospital saw a 290pc increase in A&E patients from 2010 to 2012.

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