Lead NCHD Initiative

The Lead NCHD initiative is one of a range of initiatives taken at national level to improve NCHD recruitment and retention in the Irish public health system. It was implemented to address a deficit in NCHD representation at an executive level across the country.

The role is a recommendation of the MacCraith Report, and is critical to two way communication between NCHDs and the management structures in hospitals around the country, benefiting NCHDs and patients. The Lead NCHDs are supported by NDTP trainer leads within hospital groups and are encouraged to attend key meetings about issues affecting NCHDs, have regular meetings with their clinical director and chair the local NCHD committee.

National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP) in collaboration with the National Clinical Director Programme and the Quality Improvement Division (QID) implemented pilot Lead NCHD roles in five acute hospitals within the public health service for the period 2013/2014. Following a review of the pilot programme the Lead NCHD Initiative was rolled out nationally in 2014/2015. The National Lead NCHD role was introduced in 2016. The initiative extended further in 2017 with Leads in 32 acute hospitals and 7 mental health areas. Pilot programmes in General Practice and Public Health were launched in November 2017. The Lead programme expanded again in 2019 to include a Mental Health Lead per CHO. The programme is evaluated each year to ensure adequate representation for trainees.

The supports provided by NDTP-HSE to Lead NCHDs includes Lead NCHD workshops, joint clinical Director Lead NCHD workshops, a fund for education in Management in Healthcare, seed funding for NCHD led quality improvement initiatives and support from National Lead/NDTP Fellow.

Lead NCHDs are appointed locally though medical manpower. For further information please contact current National Lead Dr Jennifer Finnegan at nl.nchd@hse.ie.