All patients should be told if they are being seen by doctor working as a hospital consultant who is not on the specialist register, indicating they have done all additional training, Fianna Fail health spokesman Deputy Stephen Donnelly said today.
He was commenting following the latest HSE data which shows there are now 161 doctors working in consultant posts across the country who are not on the specialist register.
Deputy Donnelly explained, “Despite warnings from the President of the High Court against the practice of appointing non-specialist consultants, the number has actually increased from 149 last May to 161 currently working in our Health Service.
“If this Government is to learn anything from the Cervical Check scandal it is the need for full transparency with patients.
“I am confident in saying that every patient, and the family of every patient who sees a consultant, would want to know if that consultant was not on the specialist register and whether or not they had finished their consultant training.
“I asked at the Oireachtas Health Committee last year who was responsible for allowing so many non-specialised consultants to practice in this country.
“First, I was told by the HSE that it was up to individual hospitals. I was then told by the HSE that it was up to the Medical Council. The Medical Council then said it was nothing to do with them. And finally, the HSE admitted it might actually be their responsibility.
“The truth is that this situation is the result of a critical lack of consultants. The option for managers is to put someone in the post who isn’t fully qualified, or else to stop the service.
“Nobody should ever be put in that position and the figures I was given by the HSE in response to a Parliamentary Question prove that things are getting worse," he said.
Deputy Donnelly said that last December Health Minister Simon Harris said in an interview that patients should be told by the HSE if consultants who were providing their care in public hospitals did not have specialist training or qualifications and were not on the register of specialists.
“Why has he not acted upon this? He needs to immediately issue an instruction that every patient who sees a consultant going forward, must be told if that consultant is not on the specialist register.”