Number of Doctors Looks Set To Increase Due To Amendment to Medical Practitioners Act

The number of doctors remaining in Ireland looks set to significantly increase due to an amendment to the Medical Practitioners Act 2007- which up to now only allowed for highly restrictive access to specialist medical training .

The amendment to remove this restriction will substantially assist in the retention of doctors in this country.

Approximately 40% of doctors currently working in Ireland have qualified outside the EU. As current legislation stands, (section 49 of the Medical Practitioners Act) unless these doctors have completed their internship within a short list of six jurisdictions namely: Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia Pakistan, South Africa and Sudan; they are in effect, blocked from accessing specialist medical training.

Many of these doctors have accumulated considerable experience and are working alongside and helping train junior colleagues who do have access to training schemes.

As the legislation stands – career progression for these doctors is impeded and as a direct result – we are losing these much-needed doctors who are leaving to go to jurisdictions where they can access training and up-skill to progress their career.

As with intern year, priority for such specialist training could be granted first to EU residents. A similar system prioritises Australian citizens for their training schemes.

Smaller provincial hospitals on this island in particular have become very reliant on these doctors and, as such, I warmly welcome this decision by the Minister.

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