Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Stephen Donnelly TD has called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to set out what steps he will take to address the concerns raised by the President of the High Court regarding the HSE’s use of unqualified consultants.

Mr Justice Kelly described the practice as scandalous and pointed out that the lives, health and welfare of patients were being jeopardised by the ongoing practice.

Deputy Donnelly said, “Mr Justice Kelly’s judgement has profound implications for the HSE’s continued use of unqualified consultants and the Health Minister’s willingness to stand over this practice.

“At the Oireachtas Health Committee last week it was revealed that there are 127 medical doctors practicing in Ireland as consultants without being enrolled on the specialist register. It was confirmed at the meeting that there is an increased clinical risk associated with these unqualified doctors. Minister Harris and his Government colleagues are aware of this. It is shocking that they failed to take action to address this.

“Public confidence in the health system will undoubtedly be shaken as a result of the judgement made by the President of the High Court. How can patients be sure that their consultant doctors are in fact suitably qualified to perform specialist procedures? This issue seems to particularly impact on the regional hospitals. Why should people who rely on the services provided by these hospitals have to put up with increased clinical risk due to the use of unqualified doctors?

“It’s important that the Minister for Health Simon Harris moves immediately to ensure that the HSE fulfills its obligation that all consultants are enrolled on the specialist register and that those practicing in all Irish hospitals hold the appropriate medical qualifications. People need to have full confidence in the health service.

“Minister Harris and the HSE also need to be upfront with people and set out how exactly this situation arose considering there is a requirement by law for all consultants to hold the necessary qualifications and be enrolled on the medical register.”