Department of Health’s failure to provide sufficient training places underpins crisis in recruitment

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Daisy Hill hospital Emergency Department at risk due to failure to recruit senior staff

Closure of Emergency Department will lead to even greater pressures on already overcrowded A&E at Craigavon hospital

March 31st: Kevin McAdam, Unite Regional Officer with responsibility for the union’s Health and Social Care members has called on the Health Department to bring forward a credible workforce strategy in order to safeguard regional acute healthcare provision.

“Yesterday’s announcement by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust that difficulties they were experiencing in recruiting staff to sustain the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill Hospital manifests the need for the Department of Health to bring forward a credible workforce strategy.

“The current strategy is not fit-for-purpose. The numbers of training places for medical students is substantially lower than it is in England. Indeed, the numbers of places for trainee medical doctors would need to increase by 30% to meet the new target being set by the English NHS. We need a proper workforce strategy which provides adequate training places for doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

“A series of reform reports have been published over the past decade or so dealing with this crisis-in-the-making but none of these have been implemented by consecutive Healthcare Ministers. Now we have a situation where a political crisis has resulted in the failure to even agree a Health budget.

“Unite is calling on the Southern HSC Trust to redouble its efforts to attract senior medical staff to Daisy Hill. The potential closure of the A&E service there will have a serious impact on that local community. What’s more large numbers will be forced to attend Emergency services at Craigavon hospital, which is already suffering from overcrowding and which has little to no capacity to cope.

“Unresolved, we are fearful this situation will increase emergency response times and may put lives at risk”, Mr McAdam concluded.

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