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Burnout, bullying and excess hours raised in new Council Report

The Medical Council has warned that  a new report highlights significant challenges facing doctors  “such as …burnout, bullying issues and doctors working in excess of the European Working Time Directive”.

The Medical Council published its Medical Workforce Intelligence Report for 2019 – 2020 at lunchtime today.

The Council added that the “data also reveals that the health service currently relies on a large cohort of doctors who completed their medical education outside the EU, many of whom do not feel valued either personally, societally and monetarily in their workplace”.

In June 2020, 21,190 doctors retained their place on the Medical Council’s register, with 85 per cent (17,926) reported being clinically active in Ireland, of this group, just over 50 per cent were on the Specialist Division.

In 2019, there were 1,135 voluntary withdrawals from the register, a decrease of 21.8 per cent from 1,453 in 2018, and the first decrease since 2014.

Figures for 2020 show that, as of August 2020, 862 doctors had voluntarily withdrawn their registration from the Medical Council’s register. The majority of those leaving the register wished to practise medicine in another jurisdiction. However, some of those voluntarily withdrawing stated they were leaving the register due to personal reasons resulting from implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Despite the unprecedented nature of the past year for the Irish health system, the conclusions of this report provide a valuable insight into how the medical workforce needs to be supported and developed,” said Medical Council President, Dr Rita Doyle.

“Looking at the trends over the past few years, it’s certainly a positive development to see withdrawals from the register decreasing, however, much works remains to be done on making Ireland an attractive long term prospect to our colleagues who completed their medical education outside the EU, and would like to specialise here in their chosen field.

“Recent changes to legislation to remove the barrier to access training for non-EEA qualified doctors is very welcome but more needs to be done and training places need to be increased so we can fill vacant consultant roles,” concluded Dr Doyle.

Key findings:

    23,558 doctors on medical register at end of 2019

    84.6% of doctors registered reported being clinically active in Ireland

    78% of NCHD training roles were held by Irish graduates

    3 out of 4 of those in non-training NCHD roles were doctors with medical degrees from outside of Ireland

    1,135 doctors left the medical register in 2019 citing reasons including lack of support, excessive hours and resourcing issues

    Nearly two thirds of new doctors on the register in Ireland received their medical degree outside of Ireland

    57.7% of doctors self-reported working more than 40 hours a week, 25.7% working more than 48 hours a week

    For every four Irish graduates registering for the first time, seven international graduates also registered

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