Paperwork delays new HSE doctors from abroad
THE hiring of junior doctors has been delayed after the HSE failed to submit the paperwork, it has emerged.
Hospitals have been working under intense pressure because of a lack of non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHD) or junior doctors.
A big effort has been made to recruit medics from abroad to cover the shortage.
However, there is now a hold-up in the registration of doctors from India and Pakistan as the HSE has yet to fully submit declarations to the Medical Council.
Some paperwork has been filed, but a HSE spokesperson admitted: "Some additional work was required between the HSE and the Medical Council on the content and format of the required documentation and with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) regarding the contracts under which these doctors would be working."
Under the rules, NCHDs trained outside Ireland can only be registered to practise here if the HSE submits a declaration for each doctor.
The form outlines the post and the doctors' duties.
It also makes clear what arrangements will be in place to supervise their work.
The NCHDs also have to verify their qualifications and confirm they have not been subject to disciplinary proceedings in any jurisdiction. The Medical Council has said the "registration process will not be completed" until it receives the "supporting declaration from the HSE".
The HSE told the Herald it had submitted a large number of declarations to the Medical Council about these posts but more information had been sought.
"We are working with the council to develop an agreed template for the declarations and with the IMO on relevant adjustments to the NCHD contract to progress the registration of these doctors," a spokeswoman said.
"The HSE is committed to ensuring the registration process moves ahead as quickly as is possible, with due regard to the need for arrangements that ensure patient safety and quality of care," she added.
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) had been warning for months about the potential crisis. It said there was evidence of a significant fall in the number of applications for NCHD since last January.
A large number of Irish doctors were choosing to work overseas, while the number of overseas doctors coming to Ireland was also falling, according to the IMO.