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Sunday 8 December 2019

Crisis eased as more junior doctors apply

Eilish O'Regan and Fiach Kelly

THE number of junior doctors applying to work here from next week has increased, but several hospitals will suffer shortages.

Junior doctors will begin their new six-month stints from Monday. However, the shortage will mean some services will be curtailed or closed down, although all hospitals have made contingency plans for the situation.

Health Minister James Reilly acknowledged last week that the country's 475 junior doctor posts would not all be filled on Monday.

Last week there were 254 vacancies but the Medical Council has seen a rise in initial applications from doctors recruited in Pakistan and India this week.

A spokeswoman for the Medical Council said that as of Monday it had received 105 initial applications from candidates offered posts as part of the HSE's recruitment drive. The spokeswoman said that 40 initial applications had been submitted in the past week. Around 75pc of these applications have needed follow-up from Medical Council staff to seek clarification or request documents.

Of those applications already processed and assessed, 23 have submitted the required level of documentation, which means they are eligible to sit level two and three of the exam taken in Ireland.

Mr Reilly said yesterday the situation in the hospitals now looked more promising, but he warned: "Even if everything works out swimmingly well, these doctors are going to require two weeks' supervision so they won't be fit to take up duty in any event."

Paediatric services in the north east are among the first casualties of the junior doctor shortage -- leaving children waiting longer for outpatient appointments.

Irish Independent

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