Shortage of junior staff at hospital

Elaine Way, chief executive, Western Health and Social Care Trust. (2803C56)
Elaine Way, chief executive, Western Health and Social Care Trust. (2803C56)

Several wards in Altnagelvin Hospital were unable to complete their December quality improvement audits because of a shortage of junior doctors, it’s been revealed.

Medical Director with the Western Health and Social Care Trust Dr Dermot Hughes said that much to his disappointment, the reports had digressed in December, however it had happened because of a shortage of junior staff.

“It’s not that they couldn’t be bothered,” he said. “There are simply not enough hours in the day. Some of the audits were not completed because the wards did not have enough junior doctors to complete them.”

At the meeting of the Trust chair Gerard Guckian welcomed the recent announcement by Minister for Health Simon Hamilton of additional places on a two-year training programme for doctors who have recently graduated from medical school.

He revealed six of these places have been allocated to Altnagelvin Hospital and five places to the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen. “We are getting recognition of the shortfall we have had,” said Mr Guckian.

Trust chief executive Elaine Way also revealed that the Trust had recently received funding from the Department of Health to allow one of the Associate Directors to get the radiotherapy centre up and running. This funding is in place for the next eighteen months.