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HSE offering 2 year contracts to Pakistani NCHDs while 40% of Irish graduates get 6 mths

21st March 2013 - Colm Burke TD

Just 4% of Irish medical graduates are on 2 year contracts

Fine Gael Cork Senator and the Party’s Seanad Spokesperson on Health, Colm Burke, today (Thursday) said the situation whereby Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs) in Pakistan are being offered two year contacts by the HSE to come to train in Ireland, when just 230 out of around 4,900 NCHDs in Ireland are on contracts of a similar duration, is unfair and needs clarification.

Senator Burke said the inequity of the system is further highlighted by the fact that more than 2,000 trainee doctors here have been given contracts of just six months.

“There are approximately 4,900 NCHDs employed in the Irish system at any one time. Figures made available to me recently, outline that an estimated 2,000, or 40%, of these are on contracts of just six months, despite the fact that many are engaged in structured two or three year training schemes. Just 230 NCHDs have agreed two year contracts, which is a paltry 4% of the total number of NCHDs who are engaged in training in Irish hospitals.

“Despite this, a Memorandum of Understanding for a pilot exchange programme has been agreed between the HSE and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan, which is due to commence this year. This will see doctors from Pakistan continuing their training here in Ireland with contracts for two years here on offer.

“By offering two year contracts to foreign doctors while refusing to do the same for other graduates appears to be discriminatory in the extreme. The uncertainty that six month contracts present for doctors is immense with new places of employment having to be secured twice a year. This is extremely unsettling and disruptive for trainees.

“Furthermore when an NCHD moves to a new employer, he/she may be forced to move to a new HSE payroll, as the HSE operates several payrolls: a fact that the Junior Minister, Kathleen Lynch TD, admitted to me under questioning is not ideal.

“NCHDs are the backbone of our healthcare system and make a substantial contribution to frontline care in this country. By not offering graduates here in Ireland employment contracts that match the duration of training, while doing so for trainee doctors from other countries is unfair and offensive. I would encourage the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD, to reflect on this issue and to work towards putting a system in place that is reasonable and fair for all doctors.”

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