IMO: Au­dit call could dis­cour­age doc­tors from work­ing here

Irish Examiner - - News - Fi­achra Ó Cion­naith Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent

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”.

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