The Western Trust says Fermanagh and Omagh Distict Council “could play a significant role” in helping them to attract more doctors to the county.
At Tuesday’s monthly council meeting in Omagh, a letter was read out from the Trust’s Chief Executive Elaine Way in response to concerns raised by members over medical staff shortages in the South West Acute Hospital.
Last month the Trust confirmed that they will be recruiting 100 international nurses into the region from this month. Contracts are being offered to nurses from Italy and the Philippines to come and work in hospitals across Derry, Fermanagh and Tyrone. The Trust says the move to attract nurses here has been prompted by staff shortages right across the North.
Ms Way says the Trust is “working hard to address any medical workforce shortages” with measures such as making posts more attractive through additional training and education qualifications; securing extra doctors to reduce work intensity and recruiting internationally and UK wide through jobs fairs.
In her correspondance, Ms Way moved to reassure councillors that “the Trust works in close collaboration with the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA) to ensure the needs of our patients can be met”.
She added: “The allocation and funding of trainee doctors across Northern Ireland is complex and multifactional and is dependent on the recognition of the number of training posts, the needs of the particular trainee. It is also impacted upon by the challenge of recruiting junior doctors in the UK as a whole.”
Ms Way says the health body is also working in collaboration with Ulster University to establish a Graduate Entry Medical School focusing on primary care, sustainable healthcare and rural medicine.
“If successful with this initiative, medical students will have placements across the Western Trust’s geography and the hope is that this will increase our ability to recruit and retain doctors for the future,” she said.
The Trust boss also confirmed that she is willing to meet with Council members alongside SWAH’s Medical Directors to discuss the recruitment process and how the local authority could help with this.
“I am sure you would agree that the Council could play a significant role in helping us to do this through, for example, jointly promoting the area and the benefits of living in Fermanagh,” she added.
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