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Audit reveals Irish junior doctors working without Garda vetting

An internal HSE audit released under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed that in 2019, almost 700 junior doctors began working in Irish hospitals despite not having undergone the appropriate Garda vetting.

The audit, carried out at a national level with field work conducted at six hospitals, assessed data on more than 6000 staff who were hired into non-consultant hospital or junior doctor roles, found that the internal control systems, risk management and governance across hiring systems were “unsatisfactory”. In addition to the 690 highlighted Garda vetting failings, the audit found a total of 3,213 cases where it appeared CVs were not obtained from doctors applying for work, no evidence that work permits had been obtained for 2,205 international doctors, and 2,644 international doctors had failed or did not show acceptable proof of 'mandatory' English-language tests.

In response to the findings, Colm Burke TD, Fine Gael’s spokesperson on health for Cork North Central has stated that there was a growing staffing crisis particularly in smaller hospitals, citing the recent case of Bantry General Hospital, which had to temporarily restrict services due to a shortage of doctors. Expressing concern about the high number of new staff not appearing to have Garda clearance, Mr Burke stated:

“The whole system of recruitment of consultants is out-of-date, we are not doing any forward planning.”

The results of the audit indicate that the number of non-training posts has steadily increased since 2011, standing at 38% of junior doctor jobs by 2019, with findings suggesting that the majority of non-training posts are filled by international medical graduates.

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