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A new strategy to strengthen specialist training of doctors in Ireland

The Forum of Irish Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies has developed a Strategic Framework for doctors. It is to guide the further development of postgraduate medical education and training in the decade to 2030. The Framework is designed to provide leadership and direction while identifying the key areas for immediate and longer-term action. It is delivered by targeted collaborative initiatives and programs. It will align with identified workforce planning needs and major policy initiatives across the health system in Ireland.

This represents the culmination of over two years of consultation and consensus seeking, involving representatives of the Postgraduate Training Bodies and Training Managers, the National Doctors Training & Planning programme of the HSE (NDTP), The Medical Council, The Department of Health, Sláintecare Programme and others in the Healthcare Provider and Academic sectors. It expresses renewed commitment to work collectively and in partnership with all major stakeholders. This is to assure continued excellence in training in Ireland.

The vision for future medical training is both patient-focused and trainee-centred.

It aligns with the needs of our future health service and acknowledges an ethical commitment to our global health responsibilities. This will yield clear benefits in patient outcomes and justify the continued public investment and expenditure. It is mindful of the lessons of patient experience and recognises the fundamental obligation to earn and sustain trust and confidence in medical expertise.

The strategy recognises that doctors of the future will need skill sets which differs from those of previous generations.  It aims to consistently demonstrate improved training outcomes in key areas identified by the Medical Council. Doctors of the future will increasingly collaborate with other team members and more importantly with patients and families. This is to help understand the cultural changes taking place in Irish society. To therefore shape a new dialogue on healthcare priorities.  Extending to risk management and quality improvement science, it sets out steps to harvest training system data, specifically learnings from human factor training & healthcare error and ensure how this and other data can be used and widely applied to improve Postgraduate training.

The Strategic framework for doctors contains five primary initiatives focused on delivering the following:

  1. Accelerated, targeted improvements in training for trainees and trainers.
  2. Greater collaboration to support more effective teamwork and use of technology to serve patient needs.
  3. Collection and use of data to measure training & develop actionable insights to improve training and patient safety.
  4. Greater alignment between future healthcare planning and developments within postgraduate training in Ireland.
  5. Provide oversight to a programme of strategic investment in Postgraduate Education and Training.

Forum Chair, Mr Kenneth Mealy said “these five work-streams have the potential to not only enhance education and training for all doctors working in the Irish health care sector but also promote a medical workforce which is adaptable to the needs of the evolving health care environment.”

Specifically, the Strategy will seek to further professionalise training oversight roles in the clinical setting as the foundation for enhanced quality assurance of medical training. Moreover, the Strategy recognises the need for consistent systemic measures to support doctor wellbeing.  It also commends measures to realise and support greater ethnic and gender diversity and eliminate discrimination and oppression in any guise in health care training.

Dr Brian Kinirons, Medical Director of NDTP said “It is important that we strengthen measures to support doctor wellbeing in the workplace to ensure that doctors in Ireland enjoy fulfilling careers and more balanced personal lives. This is vital for the future of healthy, safe medical practitioners.”

Co-Chairs Dr Justin Brophy and Ms. Mary Doyle said, ‘we are confident that with the support of all stakeholders, these exciting proposals are both necessary and feasible to secure the medical expertise for Ireland’s future health care’.


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