IMO: Audit call could discourage doctors from working here
The Irish Medical Organisation has hit out at calls for a national audit of all doctors amid fears that “rogue” medics are working in the system, warning it could discourage fully qualified doctors from coming to Ireland.
The IMO criticised the potential move as Fianna Fáil health spokesman Stephen Donnelly repeated his call for an investigation to be launched as soon as next week.
On Wednesday, it emerged that a doctor was working in an Irish maternity hospital despite serious concerns he had “little knowledge of the basics of medicine”.
Mr Donnelly said there is a need for an immediate “audit” of all doctors due to fears the case is not an isolated incident. He also urged Health Minister Simon Harris to tell his department’s secretary general Jim Breslin to contact the Medical Council and doctors’ groups immediately to set up the review.
However, the IMO warned any investigation could make it even more difficult to recruit doctors to work in this country.
IMO president Dr Peadar Gilligan said: “This issue has arisen as a direct result of a defective recruitment process by the HSE. Calling qualified doctors who are working in positions for which they are not fully equipped ‘rogue doctors’ is unhelpful and inaccurate.
“The problem will not be helped by politicians attacking the medical profession.”
The comment is likely to be disputed by Mr Donnelly, who said he wants an audit to take place to reassure the public over patient safety and that a Government flagged HSE review of recruitment systems does not go far enough.
In a letter to Mr Harris, Mr Donnelly said this was because it remains unclear whether the HSE recruitment review is a standard check or is due to the fact officials identified concerns.
A spokesperson for Mr Harris, however, backed the IMO, saying “it is important not to rush to judgement” and that the minister will only make a decision on what action “if any” is needed after the HSE review concludes.
The spokesperson added that Mr Harris and HSE director general John Connaughan are due to attend the Oireachtas health committee on Wednesday, and that “all of the issues raised by Mr Donnelly can be discussed in this forum”.