17% of medics on temporary work contracts

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And more than half the Island’s 91 consultants have been in post for three years or less.

Of the 205 consultants, foundation stage and staff-grade doctors, associate specialists and clinical fellows currently employed in Jersey, 123 are on permanent contracts, 47 on temporary rotational contracts for junior doctors and 35 are on temporary locum and bank contracts.

According to the Health Department, the figures are in line with a ‘globally competitive recruitment situation for doctors and some speciality services’. However, the government said it was hoped the new hospital and the implementation of the Jersey Care Model would attract more doctors to the Island.

According to the figures, one consultant has been in post for more than two decades, one for 15-16 years and 11 for 12-13 years.

At the other end of the scale, 14 have been in post for less than a year, 18 for between one and two years and 22 for between two and three years.

The figures were released by Health Minister Richard Renouf in response to a written States question from Deputy Trevor Pointon.

However, the minister refused to answer the Deputy’s question about how many members of medical staff employed by his department were currently suspended.

In his answer, Deputy Renouf said: ‘We do not believe it is appropriate to share this information as, given the small number of medical personnel on suspension, it may be possible to identify individuals. However, we can confirm there are less than five medical personnel currently suspended.’

The Health Minister also answered a written question on the cost of running his department so far this year, including the financial impact of Covid-19.

In answer to Deputy Kevin Pamplin, he said: ‘The latest available budget that shows the current cost of healthcare identifies net expenditure to 30 August on healthcare within [the department] as £165.8m, including the impact of Covid-19. This splits into pay of £111m and non-pay of £71.6m, offset by income of £16.8m. Within this, Covid-19 is estimated at £19.4m.

‘As with all other departments, Health and Community Services has creditors which vary throughout the year and which are paid monthly, but those due as at the end of August total £13.9m. The annual budget for maintenance is £7m.’

When asked about the figures, a spokesperson for Health and Community Services said: ‘In 2019, The World Health Organization estimated that there was a global shortage of 4.3 million physicians, nurses, and other health professionals.

‘Not all locum use in Jersey is as a result of vacancies, some positions support additional demand on services. We are recruiting to meet demand across a range of services, which is a positive development in recruitment levels.

‘Key areas of pressure in Jersey, as well as in the UK, include mental health, A&E GPs and obstetric services. However, we have a much lower use of locums in Jersey in areas such as paediatrics and surgical specialities compared with national figures.’

They added: ‘Our position does reflect a globally competitive recruitment situation for doctors and some speciality services but we predict that Jersey’s new hospital and the implementation of the Jersey Care Model will attract more doctors to the Island.

‘Global and regional events such as Covid-19 and Brexit have also had a potential impact on recruitment which isn’t yet fully understood.’

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