Kyne demands HSE retain extra hospital interns to help in fight against Covid-19

Galway senator calls on HSE to use increased budget it received this year to recruit close to 1,000 interns

The HSE must retain the additional hospital intern posts this year on account of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

This is the view of Fine Gael senator, and Member of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Seán Kyne. He said that while thousands of the three approved vaccines were being administered every day, the State’s health service “continues to face unprecedented challenges” due to the pandemic.

Extra interns recruited in 2020

In 2020, the then Fine Gael led government provided funding for an extra 300 medical intern posts which increased the number of interns from the standard 734 to a new high of 992.

“The fact the incoming interns started in May, rather than early July, as in ordinary times, ensured crucial assistance as frontline healthcare workers,” said Sen Kyne.

Furthermore, at Tuesday’s meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Dr Colm Henry, chief clinical officer of the HSE, said the overlap between those who started in May and the outgoing interns who finished in July was “helpful and beneficial” and provided interns with the opportunity “to learn from those who had direct experience of the impact of the pandemic on our hospitals”.

'Not the time' to reduce intern numbers

Sen Kyne welcomed the news that additional intern posts in the longer-term are likely, he added that “now is not the time” to reduce the number of intern posts.

“Given the uncertainty regarding the impact of new variants, and the logistical challenges facing the vaccine rollout,” he said, “it makes complete sense to retain the extra intern posts for at least another year.”

He called on the HSE to use the increased budget it received this year to recruit “at least the same number of interns – 992 – this summer as it did last summer”.


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