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Brexit will challenge Irish medical workforce, warns Council CEO

Brexit will pose additional stress on an already pressurised Irish medical workforce, the CEO of the Medical Council has warned.

Speaking on 2 October at the launch of the Council’s Medical Workforce Intelligence Report 2018, Mr Bill Prasifka commented: “If you look at what could be future stresses on the medical workforce, suppose there is a Brexit, well what does that mean?

“It means the UK becomes less attractive as a place to work for EU graduates, so they are going to lose some of those. Where are they going to find the doctors to make up the difference? It seems to me there will be an additional stress on the Irish workforce, so that means unless we are doing things right, that some of the trends are not looking good.”

There were significant increases in voluntary withdrawals from the register in 2018, which at 1,453 represented an increase of 37.9 per cent on the previous year, according to the workforce intelligence report. Most doctors were withdrawing from the general division of the register and almost 70 per cent planned to practise medicine in another country.

Last year 2,190 doctors registered with the Council for the first time, the lowest number of entrants since 2015. International medical graduates currently comprise 42.8 per cent of doctors on the medical register.

Council President Dr Rita Doyle commented: “Ireland’s education and training of doctors is internationally recognised, however, recruiting and retaining our pool of highly qualified Irish-trained doctors continues to prove challenging …

“Our reliance on overseas-trained doctors is escalating, evidenced by the continued increase in the general division. The practical and cultural challenges within the Irish health system need to be addressed, in tandem with an increase of appropriate health practitioner supply. Otherwise, retention will remain a growing issue.”

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