Irish Medical Organisation

IMO Statement on Medical Council Workforce Intelligence Report

  • 37.9% rise in number of doctors withdrawing from the registrar
  • Of those, 70% were aged 44 or under and 69% said that they planned to practice medicine abroad

Wednesday, 2nd October, 2019.  The Medical Workforce Intelligence Report which was released today (Wednesday 2nd October) is the latest in a long line of reports which highlights the persistent crisis experienced by our health service in attempting to retain Irish and Irish trained doctors.

The stark and ongoing reality is Ireland is not seen as an attractive working environment for our medical graduates and our young doctors. The IMO has highlighted our worsening recruitment and retention issues for a number of years now but unfortunately the Government has responded with lip service but no identifiable plan which would convince our doctors to remain here. The consequence of this inaction can be measured by the number of patients boarded on trolleys or languishing on waiting lists. 

Some of the facts contained in this most recent report are startling.

  • The number of doctors withdrawing from the registrar rose to 1,453 in 2018, which was a rise of 37.9 per cent on the 2017 figure. 
  • Of those, 70% were aged 44 or under and 69% said that they planned to practice medicine abroad.

Perhaps the most surprising figure from the report is that 28% of those leaving are choosing to go to the UK despite the uncertainty over Brexit and with a no-deal Brexit looming, we could see the NHS stepping up recruitment efforts in Ireland.

The Report also corroborates the IMO’s own research on EWTD compliance, or lack thereof, with a third of Irish trainee doctors working illegal hours. This despite figures produced by the HSE suggesting that Irish Hospitals are 98% ETWD compliant.

Dr Padraig McGarry, President of the IMO, said: “It is of vital importance that steps are taken to ensure that Ireland is made a more attractive work location for our medical graduates and doctors. We must ensure that doctors at the start of their career enjoy a better work life balance, and the key to this is to firstly accurately measure doctor working hours and bring those hours into compliance with the law.

“We must also ensure that the two-tier Consultant pay disparity is addressed, or more of our best medical graduates will see their future as lying in a system where they are treated on par with their colleagues. We can no longer let time go to waste; six hundred fewer doctors joined the medical register in 2018 than just two years previously. This trend must be arrested.”

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