Fine Gael Cork Senator and the Party’s Spokesperson on Health in the Seanad, Senator Colm Burke, has said the issues that are forcing Irish medical graduates and interns to move abroad to complete their training and gain experience must be addressed so that their skills can be retained her for the benefit of the people.
“While there has previously been little concerted evidence indicating the actual number of junior doctors and medical graduates that move overseas to complete their training or to gain experience but anecdotal evidence suggested that the numbers were significant.
“In a bid to determining the actual numbers, the HSE’s Medical Education & Training Unit carried out a number of surveys on intern doctors which identified the availability of posts, Ireland’s economic situation, access to training and the perceived relative attractiveness of overseas health systems as the main reasons for their departure.
“While the response rate to the survey was low, the final figures worryingly suggest that as many just over half of respondents (52%) indicated that their long-term intention was to work as a consultant in Ireland. The principal reasons provided by interns intending to leave Ireland for a time after internship included lifestyle choices, training opportunities abroad and dissatisfaction with medical training structures in Ireland.
“While experience gained overseas can unquestionably stand to a graduate of any discipline, we must examine the areas we are failing our medical graduates and junior doctors in ensuring that they see a future her in Ireland.
“Attempts are being made by the HSE to retain Irish medical graduates by, for instance, Since 2007 the number of NCHD posts in structured training schemes has doubled from 40% of NCHD posts to over 80%. The number of consultant posts has also increased by 30%, from 1,947 to 2,527, since the establishment of the HSE as a means of improving access to training and career progression.
“Last December, the Forum of Irish Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies and the HSE co-hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop on Retaining Medical Talent in Ireland, the aim of which is to explore the reasons behind declining numbers of doctors working in the Irish health service and to identify priority areas that need attention.
“The Government is intent on ensuring that all graduates see a future here in Ireland, and our medical professionals are no different. I will continue to press this issue so that the young men and women who are trained in this country can be retained here to work within a health service of which they can be proud.”