Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly has called on the HSE to retain and recruit all available doctors so that the health service can continue to deal with Covid-19 as well as tackling other healthcare needs, such as the spiraling waiting lists of 700,000.
Speaking this morning, Teachta O’Reilly said: “The many reports that the HSE are not offering non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHD) contracts to stay working in the health service is incredibly worrying.
“There are chronic staffing vacancies across the health service. But even if these positions were filled, we would still be short of nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers.
“We have the lowest number of consultant specialists in the EU according to the OECD, and the staff we have are overworked due to the extent of staffing vacancies.
“Covid-19 is still with us, and there are still significant challenges in dealing with the virus.
“We also have over 700,000 people on hospital waiting lists plus a backlog of need created by the cancellations as a result of Covid-19.
“As we get the health service back into full swing, these people will need appointments, treatments, surgery and care. This cannot be done if we do not have the necessary staff.
“That is why it is madness to hear that NCHD doctors, who have worked extraordinarily hard throughout the Covid-19 crisis, are now being told that there are no jobs available for them.
“There is a significant need to keep these staff. We are facing into a possible resurgence of Covid-19 and we have huge waiting lists across the health service.
“The government cannot continue to force young doctors to emigrate. Now is a once in a generation opportunity to properly resource the health service – we need to seize this opportunity and offer these NCHD doctors full-time contracts.”