A chronically understaffed health service

Sir, – The article "Fifteen junior doctors receive over €100,000 in overtime pay amid Covid-19 pressures" (News, January 25th) reflects a health service chronically and systemically understaffed at all levels and where such overtime payments reflect often short-sighted 11th-hour locum coverage payments at best or, at worst, perhaps a specialist "junior" non-consultant hospital doctor (NCHD) working rolling-rostered 70-plus hour weeks because there is nobody else to fulfil service requirements.

It’s also worth noting many NCHDs in Ireland routinely work well beyond their contractual basic hours year on year (and long before Covid-19 pressures) with no claim on overtime, so this bill is a gross underestimate of those hours actually worked.

All while droves of graduating medical, nursing, and paramedical classes emigrate to work in countries where there is pay parity, they’re respected, appropriately remunerated and can enjoy a weekend outside of work once in a while. – Yours, etc,




General Practice Registrar,

Ballybay Healthcare Unit,

Co Monaghan.