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Dublin: 7°C Sunday 23 January 2022

Concerns raised over shortage of junior hospital doctors

The Irish Association of Emergency Medicine has said that shortages may lead to “potential avoidable harm” to patients.

THE SHORTAGE OF junior doctors in Irish hospitals is leading to prolonged patient waiting times and could potentially harm patients.

That’s according to the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine, which is carrying out a detailed manpower survey in order to see the full impact of the lack of doctors.

The IAEM says the Health Service Executive (HSE) displays an “ongoing inability to recruit sufficient junior doctors to the country’s Emergency Departments (EDs)”.

Whilst we are producing more doctors than ever before in Ireland, the situation is worsening and the HSE must urgently reconsider its approach to the matter.

The preliminary results of its survey show that many of Ireland’s casualty departments face significant challenges in maintaining 24/7 cover, which the IAEM says “will be to the detriment of patient care and the health service in general”.

The loss of medical staff both in the  ED and front-line specialties, compounded by worsening casualty department overcrowding, will result in even more waiting for patients, said the IAEM.

The association fears that this would include delayed treatment and “potential avoidable harm” to patients.

The IAEM concluded:

We urgently call on the new board of the HSE to adopt immediate rigorous contingency planning to minimise the disruption to  national ED services caused by this staffing shortage and to ensure that ED services can be provided to all patients safely on an ongoing basis.

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