Saturday 16 December 2017

Delays loom at hospitals hit by doctor crisis

Eilish O'Regan

SEVERAL hospitals will be struggling to maintain services from today as up to 150 junior doctor posts remain unfilled.

Hospital emergency departments, including those at Limerick, Tullamore, Portlaoise, Mullingar and Naas, have failed to recruit enough junior doctors.

Junior doctors begin their six-month rotation from today and many who finished shifts in one hospital yesterday will start work in another this morning.

A combination of a shortage of doctors and medics getting familiar with their new surroundings will lead to delays for patients, particularly in emergency departments.

All the hospitals have contingency plans, including scaling down services, hiring locum agency doctors and transferring doctors from one department to another.

The hope is that the situation will ease in the coming weeks as more doctors coming from Pakistan and India qualify for registration with the Medical Council.

There are currently vacancies in emergency medicine, anaesthesia, paediatrics and general surgery.

Irish Independent

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