Press Release

Minister Martin establishes National Task Force on Medical Staffing

Mr Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children, today (11 February 2002) announced that he has appointed a National Task Force on Medical Staffing, to be chaired by Mr David Hanly. The Task Force will hold its inaugural meeting on February 21.

The Minister said the Task Force would prepare detailed implementation programmes based on two key reports published last year, the Hanly Report on the phased reduction of the working hours of non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) and the Report of the Medical Manpower Forum. The implementation programmes will be addressed in the context of the new health strategy, “Quality and Fairness – A Health System for You”.

The Task Force will include a central Steering Group, chaired by Mr Hanly, and two Project Groups. One Group, which will also be chaired by Mr Hanly, will deal with reducing the working hours of junior doctors in line with the EU Working Time Directive. A second Project Group, to be chaired by Dr Jane Buttimer, Medical Director, National Task Force/Education and Training, will focus on medical education and training. A key task for the Steering Group will be to quantify the resource and cost implications which would arise if a consultant-delivered hospital service were developed in place of the existing consultant-led systems.

The Minister wished the Task Force every success in its very important work and thanked its members for agreeing to contribute their expertise and experience to this initiative. The Minister stated:

“The work of the National Task Force on Medical Staffing will be critical to resolving the problem of long hours worked by doctors in training and creating a new model of hospital service delivery based on appropriately trained doctors providing patients with the highest quality service.”

The inaugural meeting of the Task Force will take place on February 21st and details of its membership and terms of reference are attached.