Doctor shortage crisis continues

THE shortage of junior hospital doctors at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda continues with 43 posts remaining to to be filled.

THE shortage of junior hospital doctors at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda continues with 43 posts remaining to to be filled.

A total of 193 posts remain unfilled around the country, while 70 junior doctor posts are vacant at hospitals in the Dublin North East region.

According to the Health Service Executive (HSE), a total of 59 posts are unfilled in hospitals in the west, and a further 41 in the south.

Meanwhile, hospitals in the Dublin mid-Leinster areas are facing a shortage of 23 doctors in total.

The shortage of junior hopsital doctors around the country has worsened following a major rotation of staff on July 11.

The HSE had previously said that shortages in the system will be greatly alleviated by the arrival of junior doctors from India and Pakistan.

Some 300 of these doctors have applied for visas and 128 have already arrived in Ireland, but they will have to meet new Medical Council registration rules before being allowed to work.

A HSE spokesman said the gaps in staffing were being filled by locums and through extra overtime until the new doctors became available.

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda provides acute medical and surgical services as well as maternity services to the catchment area of Louth, Meath and parts of north county Dublin.

The shortage of staff in the north-east had led to some sick children being sent to Dublin for treatment, but otherwise the effects were minor.

Over a quarter of NCHD positions at emergency departments (EDs) around the country remain unfilled according to Dr Fergal Hickey, president of the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine.