Our Lady of Lourdes to get four doctors

Four doctors are to be appointed to the paediatrics department to care for children in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE) North East.

Four doctors are to be appointed to the paediatrics department to care for children in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE) North East.

The move comes amid fears that the hospital will be badly affected by a shortage of junior doctors.

A spokesperson for HSE North East said that it is continuing to monitor vacancies, particularly in anaesthetics and paediatrics.

"A recruitment drive abroad resulted in a number of suitable applicants being selected for appointment," she said.

"The Irish Medical Council is committed to fast tracking registrations for these doctors...it is anticipated that candidates will be available in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital for the start of the new rotation."

Hospitals saw the latest crop of junior doctors switch to new posts yesterday (Tuesday, January 10) as part of their six-month training stint.

However, some hospitals are at risk of suffering the loss of several medics who are necessary to maintain services.

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda is among a number of hospitals nationwide, which are under pressure due to a shortage in junior doctors.

Hospitals across the country still have at least 165 vacancies for junior doctors with fears growing that a shortage of medical cover will hit services from next week.

The HSE has still not been able to fill a large number of vital junior doctor posts in emergency departments, anaesthetics, general surgery, orthopaedic surgery, general medicine and paediatrics.

A variety of reasons has led to the situation including a reduction in posts offering training credits for young doctors and also attractive post offers in Australia and Britan.

The vacancies are highest in small-and-medium-sized hospitals and the vacancies in posts not recognised for training, according to the HSE.

The HSE has put in place a package of measures to try to attract junior doctors including 12 weeks free accommodation, two-year contracts, subsidised courses and a chance to work in different hospitals.

It is feared some doctors who have accepted a job offer may decide to turn it down this week and go to another hospital which is offering a more attractive package.

Job advertisements have also been placed in Australia, Canada, Pakistan, India, Britain and here in a bid to fill the posts.

Meanwhile, a set of contingency measures have been drawn up to maintain services from this week.