IMO Statement on the Overseas Recruitment of Doctors to Ireland
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) deplores the treatment of the doctors recruited from India and Pakistan who like other doctors in the Irish health service have voted with their feet. It appears that only 17% of the original number who came here in 2011 are involved in discussions with a view to taking up posts within Ireland; the rest would appear to be leaving the country.
The reasons for this are clearly the failure of the HSE and regulatory authorities to deliver on the extensive and unrealistic promises regarding the jobs they were coming to in this country and the future prospects that could follow. The treatment of these doctors by the HSE has been shameful and it is little surprise that - in common with the poor treatment of many doctors - they have chosen not to stay in the Irish health system.
While the IMO recognise it is vital that standards set by the Irish Medical Council should equally apply to all doctors working in Ireland it is reprehensible that promises made to the doctors before they left their country are not being honoured.
Given the ongoing challenges faced in staffing the health service it is clear the HSE has learnt no lessons from the previous debacle. Contrary to the World Medical Association standards the HSE has now decided to poach medical talent from South Africa and other countries that can poorly afford to part with. It is shameful that the HSE is proposing to locate these doctors in places where training and learning opportunities are limited.
It is clear that the recruitment challenge facing the HSE in filling NCHD vacancies is getting more difficult. However, this is not surprising due to abject failure of the HSE to address the appalling way they continue to treat NCHDs.
The failure to reduce the onerous and dangerous working hours to become compliant with the EWTD, provide appropriate working conditions and removal of NCHD inappropriate tasks has increased the risk to patients and is long overdue to be tackled. In addition there needs to be improved structured training in terms of access and funding, including the introduction of more flexible, family friendly training and the restructuring of current non-training posts. This is the only way to make the Irish health service an attractive place for doctors to work.
The removal of the two tiered pay arrangements for consultants is also an anomaly which must be addressed to stem the exodus of NCHDs out of the Irish health service.
The IMO calls on the HSE to address the problems at home before it continues to create problems for doctors from abroad. It is vital for the on-going sustainability of our health service that the HSE and the Department of Health gives priority to these issues so that are addressed without any further delay and to avoid further damage.
For further information contact:
Irish Medical Organisation
10 Fitzwilliam Place
Tel. 01 6767 273