Irish Medical Organisation

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IMO Message on Medical Student Work During COVID-19

We know that many things are uncertain for you right now. The IMO is working to make sure that you are protected through this emergency.

The IMO became aware last week that medical students in RCSI had been asked to volunteer in providing basic assistance to patients in the ICU at Beaumont Hospital. We can confirm that these volunteers will be paid for these services at Healthcare Assistant grade, and that they have been provided adequate supports, including assurances that they are clinically indemnified for this work, that they are provided adequate training, and that they will receive PPE necessary for this job.

This must be the standard for any further work done by students in the course of this emergency. Providing assistance in clinical locations, and particularly in high-risk clinical locations, must be voluntary for students, with no element of compunction. It must be remunerated, with the terms of that remuneration made clear to those who have agreed to take part. Volunteers must have adequate PPE, supervision, appropriate training, instruction, and indemnification for the work they are called upon to do.

It is heartening to the IMO that so many of our student members have come forward to answer the call in this emergency. We encourage you to do so, and if you do, to ensure you are engaged under a contract so that you are fully and appropriately protected.

We will continue to represent your best interests through the course of this emergency. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at If your classmates are not already members of the IMO, please let them know that they can sign up for FREE student membership at

IMO warns of serious shortage of doctors in our public health services


The President of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) Dr John Duddy has today warned that Public Health Services, and particularly public hospitals, are facing another year of a shortage of doctors across all the specialties as the trend of emigration continues. 

Ireland is already below the OECD average for the number of doctors per head of population and given the predicted change in population we will not have enough doctors in the future.

The current situation is that:

  • Over 300 consultant posts are vacant or being filled by temporary locums
  • There are few or no suitable applicants for consultant posts with many posts having to be advertised a number of times
  • Younger doctors voting with their feet and emigrating
  • 60% of the 2016 newly qualified interns have already stated their intention to leave at the end of their first year
  • Serious difficulties in recruiting new GPs into practice and problems for GPs in finding locums

Dr Duddy today said that there is a complete lack of action in relation to tackling the medical manpower shortage and we do not need to wait for any report from the 10 Year Health Committee to address the problems of too few doctors.  Dr Duddy said “We can never hope to have a health system that meets the needs of patients if we fail to attract and retain doctors in Ireland.  The reasons why doctors are choosing to leave Ireland or not return to Ireland are simple – it is about being able to work in a system where you have the resources and support to do the job for which you are trained and to develop within your chosen specialty.  Currently doctors are working in poor environments with little or no support so it is hardly surprising that they choose to go and work in health systems that value and respect their skills.”

IMO Survey finds only 40% of medical students plan to stay in the Irish Health Service after completing their training

14 July 2016:  Only 40% of medical students plan to stay and practice in the Irish healthcare system following their intern rotations, a new survey by the IMO reveals.   Over a third polled also say they are “unsure” as to whether they will stay or go.

Commenting on the results of the survey IMO President, Dr. John Duddy, Specialist Registrar in Neurosurgery said, “It is obvious from these findings that the reputation of the Irish healthcare system is in shreds amongst our interns.   Confidence is at an all-time low, so much so that without even having graduated from medical school they are already packing their bags for foreign shores and are ruling out Ireland as the place where they wish to practice.”

Dr. Duddy said that the IMO has extensively highlighted this serious issue “The legacy of successive Governments in failing to tackle the problems in our health service are effectively stamping the passports of our brightest young doctors and handing their talents and expertise to other countries.  If we allow this to continue and do not create a positive and progressive environment for doctors to pursue their careers the outcome will be detrimental to the future of healthcare in this country.   The result will be more pressure on the system, less doctors and ultimately more hardship for patients.”

Other results from the survey found that over half of interns surveyed are worried or unsure about their intern year.  A similar amount say they have a definite idea of the speciality they want to pursue following their intern year.

The survey was carried out amongst a sample of medical students who this week commenced their medical rotation in hospitals across the country.

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