Sunday 17 December 2017

Reilly vows to tackle 'perverse' plight of junior doctors

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

HEALTH Minister James Reilly has promised junior doctors will work under a new system – which will give them better working conditions and job opportunities – within a year.

Dr Reilly said the current system, which can sometimes see junior doctors work indefinitely on short-term contracts with long hours, was "perverse".

He said it was wrong that the Irish system educated the "brightest and best" yet forced them abroad and then has to get doctors from Third World countries to work in hospitals here.

He said it was "utterly unacceptable" to ask junior doctors to make "life and death" decisions after working long hours.

Meanwhile, a survey from the Medical Council also shows the highest proportion of doctors withdrawing from the medical register, apart from those above retirement age, are those aged between 25 and 39 – the age range which most junior doctors fall into.

Doctors must register with the Medical Council before they can work in Ireland and the survey also shows some 35pc of doctors working in Ireland qualified outside the country, with 10pc of all doctors registered coming from countries identified by the World Health Organisation as having a critical shortage of health workers.

Dr Reilly has set up a group consisting of junior doctors, interns, registrars and others to see what kind of alternative system can be put in place to provide a clearer career path and greater work-life balance.

The group will be chaired by Dublin City University president Brian MacCraith and will present its final report to Dr Reilly by November. Human resources staff from the HSE and medical colleges will also be consulted. He said the reforms would be in place by next July.

Irish Independent

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