Irish Medical Organisation

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


Monday 22 August 2016.  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.”

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