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Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Academic clinician numbers here are half the recommended level

Report in 2006 strongly recommended appointments to standardise Irish medical training – but only 49 of the recommended 99 existed five years later.

FEWER THAN HALF of the academic clinician posts recommended in a 2006 report on undergraduate medical training in Ireland have been approved.

June Shannon, reporting exclusively in the Medical Independent, has uncovered HSE figures which show that 49 clinical academic appointments have been made since 2006. The so-called Fottrell Report (Medical Education in Ireland: A New Direction) recommended that 99 of these posts should be created and filled by 2011 – and that a further 17 posts would be needed by the end of 2012, and another 17 in 2013.

Just seven posts were approved up to the end of 2011 – the total number of academic clinicians in Ireland is now 49.

The aim of the report was to examine the standard of medical education and training in Ireland. It found that clinical training was being delivered by “a small number” of academic clinicians at consultant level and the majority of it was being delivered by hospital staff who were not specifically contracted to train and had to give priority to attending to patients. This was why the report recommended that more academic clinical posts be created: “It is important to note that even though clinical training forms up to 50 per cent of the overall undergraduate curriculum, most clinical teaching is carried out on a voluntary basis with little or no possibility of oversight or quality assessment by the Medical School”.

Read June Shannon in the Medical Independent>

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