ALLIANCE Down Councillor Patrick Clarke has challenged the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and the Health Minister regarding recruiting emergency medicine, middle grade doctors to work in the A&E Unit at the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick.
Councillor Clarke who attended the large public meeting last Thursday 18 February in Downpatrick regarding reinstating 24/7 A&E Services at the Downe Hospital said following the meeting that he believes the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and the Health Minister have not properly advertised, researched and sourced middle grade doctors from across all EU countries and overseas countries.
He said: “Since before Christmas both Hugh McCaughey, Chief Executive of the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, and Edwin Poots, Health Minister, have cited the severe shortage of recruiting emergency medicine trained middle grade doctors as the reason for reducing the opening hours and weekend closure of the A&E Unit at the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick.
“I was also shocked at the lack of information being given by Mr McCaughey as to the number of actual advertisements which the Trust have placed across all EU and overseas countries seeking the recruitment of emergency medicine trained middle grade doctors to work in A & E units at the Downe Hospital.
“I have to challenge this assessment being mooted by Mr McCaughey and ask whether the Trust have actually properly researched and tried to source emergency medicine trained middle grade doctors from right across all EU and also overseas countries.
“I do not believe the public been told the full story as to exactly how many countries within the EU and also overseas that the Trust has actually advertised for posts to recruit emergency medicine trained middle grade doctors.
“The Health Service in both the UK and Ireland could not survive without the employment of overseas doctors, nurses and other medically trained professional staff from various EU and non EU countries across the world.
“With this in mind I have been conducting my own research and have contacted a number of leading global international health companies who specialise in recruiting specialist emergency medicine trained middle grade doctors who can work in A&E Units and find that there is not a major shortage of these highly qualified and professional staff in eother EU or overseas countries.
“I have also received a number of positive responses from global, international, health recruitment companies who have advised that their companies have and can also recruit and select the specialist doctors required with the necessary requirements that the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust are having difficulty in recruiting at present.
“If we are to resolve the emergency crisis that the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust say has forced the reduced opening hours during the week and the weekend closure of the A & E Unit at the Downe Hospital then I think doctors with the necessary qualifications from all EU and overseas countries must be properly investigated and researched as I have been able to carry out from my own research.
“I have now written to both Mr McCaughey and the Health Minister to exactly clarify how many EU and overseas countries had advertisements actually placed by the Trust regarding the recruitment of emergency medicine trained middle grade doctors with the necessary qualifications and how many international health companies in the EU and overseas if any were ever contacted.
“I will also be passing on the findings from my research and the names of the companies to the relevant key decision makers,” said Cllr Patrick Clarke.]]>