A doctor who was employed as a junior doctor in a busy maternity hospital received generous signs of 55 out of 100 for clinical medical and diagnostic skills in his work interview – despite the fact that he has no experience in treating patients.
The case of the EU-trained physician, hired as a senior hospital officer, once again raised serious concerns about the shortcomings in recruitment procedures that allow under-standard skills to pass through, putting patients at risk.
Health Minister Simon Harris said yesterday he had written to HSE, seeking an urgent response to first-person judge Peter Kelly's comments on "an obvious danger to patients," because he granted the order to suspend the doctor.
Mister. Justice Kelly wondered how he came to the conclusion that the doctor was "inexperienced" when he actually had "not at all."
Mr. Harris said he had now asked HSE to speed up a review of recruitment procedures.
The doctor whose cause appeared this week was refused for other hospital posts due to lack of experience and was ever an "observer". But he got 195 of the 325 possible signs in the interview. Within a few days, senior doctors became worried that he "had no basic skills".
The Medical Council, which regulates doctors and requests suspension, said yesterday that it was unable to comment on this specific case.
However, a spokesperson said: The Medical Board shares Justice Kelly's concerns regarding the recruitment of junior doctors with adequate levels of experience and qualifications, and we have expressed our concerns about HSE and recruitment companies medical experience in the past. "
He said that if a doctor is registered, it does not mean they are suitable for each role. "It is up to employers to determine the opportunity of a doctor to meet the requirements of a job and to ensure that they are properly supported and supervised in their role."
Because of the rules of free movement, it is not necessary to carry out the same test of clinical knowledge and skills by doctors trained by the EU as non-EU doctors who wish to be registered.
Asked about the protective measures he has in place, HSE said that the recruitment of junior doctors is run through hospitals.
If a candidate reaches the selection stage, they must be "reviewed to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria for the post" and interviewed by a three-person council. "Each candidate is examined with regard to the basic skills and abilities as presented in the job specification."
HSE is currently reviewing its recruitment model "to ensure that it meets the needs of global talent competition along with future requirements for Slaintecare and to ensure compliance with its statutory obligations and to ensure best practices in the nomination process" .
Asked to comment on the pressures faced by desperate hospitals for medical coverage, Dr. John Duddy of the Irish Medical Organization said some hospitals may be desperate to fill senior office posts. There are special problems in finding these doctors in obstetrics, surgery, anesthesia and orthopedics, "said Dr. Duddy, a neurosurgeon in Cork.
Physicians may have "minimum qualifications" on paper, he said. "So many hospitals depend on doctors in non-training posts to meet rotation staff and keep the hospital in operation." An appropriate induction program would attract better doctors, he said.