Time for doctors’ hours to change

Fri, Apr 5, 2013, 09:39

Sir, – This June, at least 681 current medical students (who do not require work permits) will be seeking to join the workforce. However at present only 650 intern places are available to these students. While this marks an increase of 80 places on 2012, it is still inadequate.

The benefits from expanding the number of intern places would be quite far-reaching: money would be saved, due to reduced overtime payments; improved working conditions would make it more enticing for NCHDs to remain in Ireland in the long-term; and, most importantly, any reduction in the current inhumane working hours would be extremely beneficial to patients in Irish hospitals who would no longer be treated by mentally and physically drained junior doctors.

I urge the Minister for Health to see to it that the recommendations of the Fottrell report (which also advocated an increase in intern places) are adhered to, and see to it that there is an immediate expansion in hospital intern places. – Yours, etc,

EANNA COFFEY,

Fossa, Killarney, Co Kerry.