Consultants and badges

 

Sir, – Perhaps, bearing in mind the recent controversy over non-attendance at clinics of some hospital consultants, all hospital consultants should have to wear photo-ID badges to identify them. That way the patient will know if the consultant they are supposed to have an appointment with is actually there, and not somewhere else. – Yours, etc,

DAVID DORAN,

Bagenalstown,

Co Carlow.

Sir, – In spite of the humour surrounding underqualified hospital consultants and the suggestion that they wear special badges, it is a serious issue. Some 73 consultants might see 150,000 patients annually, if each has 10 patient interactions every working day. Is the HSE in a position to guarantee the quality of those interactions, especially bearing in mind that consultants, by definition, work unsupervised?

There is a number of potential solutions. First, each consultant could be sent for completion of his training so that any deficiencies might be corrected. Second, if this were impossible for any reason, such as an industrial relations issue, then it might be a better to keep the consultants in administrative roles where damage to patients would not be possible. Third, they could continue to be paid a consultant salary but function in a supervised capacity, as junior doctors do. Finally, if none of the above is possible, it may be necessary, as a last resort, to pay the consultants to stay at home on “gardening leave”, so that patients would not be at risk.

Whatever solution is found (and the wearing of badges of humiliation is not a realistic solution), it is essential that the HSE finds a prompt response to the problem and informs the public of that response, in order to restore confidence in the hospital services. – Yours, etc,

MARY MORRISSEY,

Castletownbere,

Co Cork.