Retention of doctors major problem for local hospital

CHALLENGES with recruitment continue at the South West Acute Hospital. New figures obtained by the Herald would appear to show 50 percent of doctors from overseas recruited in the last four years have since moved on from SWAH.
The high staff turnover rate is seen as one of the biggest challenges facing the Trust and geographical location has been pinpointed as one issue impacting recruitment and retention of medical staff here.
According to the Trust almost 20 percent of doctors at the Enniskillen hospital are locums. In 2017/18 the Western Trust spent £17.3 million to fill vacancies in the health service across agency, locum doctors and community services.
The ongoing dependence on locum medical staff continues to be an issue this winter.
Outlining the recruitment efforts a spokesman for the Western Trust said, “The Western Trust has engaged in an international recruitment campaign for the past four years to address this shortage and to date has recruited 119 doctors in total (39 in 2018 and 27 so far in 2019) 56 international doctors were recruited to SWAH with 28 still in post.”
Speaking about challenges facing the hospital the spokesman outlined, “The Western Trust experiences particular challenges recruiting medical staff due to its geographical location.
“These unique challenges result in agency and locum medical staff having to be used to maintain services.”
It was explained that an electronic app within the Trust is used to encourage doctors to fill vacant locum slots to ease the burden on agency spend.
Further doctors are appointed and are due to take up their posts at SWAH soon.
“With the imminent arrival of a further seven doctors for South West Acute Hospital, the percentage of locum doctors there will be 19% and this will be further reduced through the appointment of international doctors and local recruitment initiatives.”
The Western Trust pointed out that “heavy reliance” on locum doctors for the provision of healthcare services is felt across the North and the UK.
“The Western Trust is not immune from national and regional medical shortages in many hospital specialities,” the spokesman said.

To read more.. Subscribe to current edition

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA