Press Release

Minister for Health publishes report on medical career structures and pathways following completion of specialist training

More flexible consultant career structure to meet evolving needs recommended

The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, today published the second report of the Strategic Review Working Group chaired by Prof. Brian MacCraith (President, DCU).

The Minister established the Working Group in 2013.  It was tasked with examining, and making high-level recommendations, in relation to training and career pathways for doctors with a view to:

  • Improving graduate retention in the public health system;
  • Planning for future service needs;
  • Realising maximum benefit from investment in medical education and training

This report, which focuses on medical career structures, considers the consultant role in the context of Future Health and the health reform programme and reaffirms the public policy aim of a Consultant-provided service. It recommends a more differentiated and flexible consultant career structure in the future, in order to meet evolving service needs and offer greater opportunities for advancement, progression and personal development.

The report identifies a number of current barriers to recruiting and retaining Consultants in the public health system and makes a series of recommendations to address these barriers.

Click here for the full report.

The Minister welcomed the report. “The barriers to recruiting and retaining consultants that have been identified by Prof MacCraith and the members of the Working Group are a matter of great concern to me”, he said, “I will seek to address them, as set out in the recommendations and implementation plan.  I have already been in contact with the Chief Executive of the Labour Relations Commission to progress the Group’s recommendation concerning IR engagement. I also intend to ask the Director General of the HSE to follow-up on the Working Group’s other recommendations.”

Concluding, Minister Reilly expressed his sincere appreciation to Prof. MacCraith and the members of the Group, for their time, expertise and commitment over the past four months and wished them well with the work still to come.  The Minister also expressed his gratitude to all those who engaged positively with the Group during this stage of their work, in particular trainee doctors.

Click here for more on the work of the Strategic Review Working Group, including membership and terms of reference

Background Notes for Editors

Membership of the Working Group is as follows:

  • Prof. Brian MacCraith, President, DCU (Chair);
  • Ms Oonagh Buckley, Assistant Secretary, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform;
  • Dr Áine Carroll, Director of Clinical Programmes, HSE;
  • Dr Philip Crowley, Director, Quality and Patient Safety, HSE,
  • Mr Eunan Friel, Secretary, Forum of Irish Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies;
  • Dr Colm Henry, National Lead, Clinical Director Programme, HSE;
  • Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health;
  • Mr Leo Kearns, National Lead for Transformation and Change, System Reform Group, HSE;
  • Prof. Eilis McGovern, National Programme Director for Medical Education, Medical Education and Training Unit, HSE;
  • Mr Barry O’Brien National Director, Human Resources, HSE;
  • Dr Siobhan O’Halloran, Chief Nursing Officer, Department of Health;
  • Ms Frances Spillane, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health;
  • Dr Barry White, Consultant Haematologist, St James’s Hospital.

The full terms of reference for the Strategic Review can be downloaded here (link to a PDF file).