Press Release

Minister Martin welcomes milestone agreement on the Report of the Medical Manpower Forum and commits to speedy implementation

The Minister for Health and Children, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D., today (28th November 2000), welcomed the agreement by the Medical Manpower Forum to their Report on the future structure of medical staffing in our health services. The agreed Report represents a major milestone for the health services. The Report, among other things, sets out key requirements for the structuring of consultant posts in the context of both changed work patterns and increases in the consultant workforce.

The Minister commented “I am very encouraged by the progress made in reaching agreement on this Report. It heralds a new future for the health services and the manner in which we intend to improve the way we do business. All the parties are to be commended for their valuable input. My focus has been and will continue to be the provision of high quality and safe hospital services delivered by competent staff – what the patient deserves. But I have also been acutely conscious of the needs of medical staff. The Report recognises the balance required and it should now be implemented in a coherent and orderly fashion.”

The key outcomes from implementation of the Report should lead to the provision of a better quality service, with greater continuity in patient care, delivered twenty-four hours a day by appropriately trained doctors.

The proposals do involve significant change and this has been accepted by all parties to the Forum. The future plans involve a major increase in consultant numbers – coupled with a rationalisation of the number of doctors in training. This will over time impact on the workload of both Consultant and non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs). It will facilitate the ultimate introduction of a 48 hour working week for NCHDs and contribute to an alignment of NCHD numbers and training posts. It will allow increases in teaching and training time, facilitate the introduction of new agreed flexible rostering arrangements and the introduction of formal rostering of consultants.

“The next phase, now that the principles have been agreed, is to explore further the parameters which will influence and permit speedy implementation of the Report. A Project Group will be established immediately to plan and conduct this exercise. It will report within six months.” the Minister said.