19/12/2007

Doctors' Recruitment And Training Reviewed

A more flexible training and recruitment programme is being initiated for doctors.

Assembly Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has announced what he said are significant improvements to the system to recruit doctors to train in Northern Ireland.

Changes to the training system follow concerns earlier this year over the recruitment process.

Explaining the need for the changes the Minister said: “Earlier this year I commissioned a review of recruitment into specialty training.

"My objective was to have a system which meets the need of local patients and clients, but also is fair and transparent.

"In particular I wanted to ensure that local doctors have the opportunity to apply to programmes that offer high quality training," he said.

He noted that, in Northern Ireland the Department of Health adopted a more locally acceptable system in response to ongoing concerns.

He said that, as a result, fears about large scale unemployment of local junior doctors did not materialise.

“The new arrangements I am announcing will mean that doctors will still apply for training in a specialty of their choice.

"Trainees will also have, in the future, the option of continuing such specialty training or changing career direction," he continued.

"I believe that this flexibility will ensure we make the most of the ambition of trainees and secure best value from the considerable sums we invest in their training."

Concluding, Mr Mc Gimpsey said: “My core objective is to ensure that the people of Northern Ireland have access to first class treatment and care delivered by a professional dedicated workforce in modern well equipped facilities. Investing in skills today is key to delivering that.”

Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, welcomed the changes: “It is vital that we ensure a continuing supply of highly trained and motivated doctors for Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland. These changes will help considerably towards that goal.”

The Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency will carry out the recruitment exercise, which will open on 5 January 2007. The Agency has the full list of the specialties that will offer run-through training and those that will offer core training.

(BMcC)

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