The National Taskforce on the NCHD Workforce was established by the Minister for Health in September 2022. The purpose is to put in place sustainable workforce planning strategies and policies to address and improve NCHD experience, in support of present and future retention of NCHDs in Ireland.
In its first six months, the National Taskforce on the NCHD Workforce has developed interim recommendations to address identified challenges for NCHDs, strengthened by specific implementation requirements, including oversight and monitoring structures for successful delivery of the recommendations.
Welcoming the Interim report of the National Taskforce on the NCHD Workforce, Minister Donnelly said, “I recognise that significant change is required to ensure that we improve the NCHD experience and work-life balance through the development and implementation of improved NCHD structures and supports in hospital sites. NCHDs are a critical part of our workforce and need to be supported to ensure they are retained in our health service. I commend the work of the Taskforce members and I look forward to engaging and supporting them in the next phase of their work.”
The Minister has written to the HSE Chief Executive Officer to ensure that the recommendations are prioritised and implemented in full.
The Taskforce is working to improve the NCHD experience and work-life balance through the development and implementation of improved NCHD structures and supports in hospital sites. It aims to further develop and foster a culture of education and training at clinical site level and plan for future configuration of the medical workforce to support delivery of healthcare in Ireland.
The Taskforce vision for NCHDs is to deliver high-quality education and training for all NCHDs in an accountable, respectful and supportive working environment that facilitates sustainable work-life balance. Individual workstreams have focused on specific priority themes and agreed a programme of work to deliver on this vision, and on their terms of reference, by the end of October 2023.
The workstreams have been progressing the priority themes with the common goal of developing and delivering short-term solutions that can be implemented in the immediate term, along with longer-term recommendations for improvements that require planning and collaboration with stakeholders.
The Chair of the Taskforce, Professor Anthony O’Regan, said, “the NCHD Taskforce recognises the essential role of our NCHD colleagues in caring for our population and the urgent need to change the culture and supports for NCHDs across clinical sites. As Chair, I acknowledge the extraordinary commitment and engagement of the members of the Taskforce, and the support of the Minister.”
“The Taskforce is keenly aware that sustainable change requires a clear roadmap to be delivered over the long-term and is working to our reporting timeline of October 2023. We are pleased to deliver our interim recommendations to be implemented immediately and begin the process of change in the working and training environment for NCHDs. We recognise that this is just the beginning of a major piece of work, but we also underline that change must start now.”
The interim recommendations to be implemented immediately are around seven priority themes and include recommendations on induction and onboarding for NCHDs, infrastructure, medical manpower support, medical workforce, work-life balance, and governance.
The next phase of the Taskforce will develop medium to longer term recommendations to support NCHDs. A final set of recommendations will be produced in a final report to the Minister by the end of October 2023.