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According to the Workforce Intelligence Report 2016, some 37.9 per cent of doctors retaining registration graduated with a basic medical qualification from a medical school outside Ireland; this compared with 35.7 per cent in 2014.
The five leading countries of qualification for doctors who did not qualify in Ireland were Pakistan, Sudan, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Romania.
In a statement issued today, the IMO commented: “While our overseas colleagues make an invaluable contribution to the running of our service the statistics support the fact that we are unable to retain or recruit Irish medics who are choosing to work in systems that respect and value their skills.
“According to OECD statistics, Ireland has the highest reliance on foreign trained doctors in the EU yet produces more medical graduates from its universities than any other EU state, two facts that demonstrate the extent of Ireland’s problem with graduate and doctor retention. Ireland possesses one of the lowest numbers of practising doctors, per population, in the EU.”
The Organisation also referred to data on the “changing face of the medical workforce with more and more females taking up medicine”.
According to the IMO, the Government and HSE “continue to fail to acknowledge and work on the changes required in terms of flexible training opportunities and an environment that supports career development so as to ensure we have doctors for the future”.
The Council’s workforce report found that 56 per cent of doctors who retained registered in the Trainee Specialist Division were female. Among graduates from Irish medical schools aged less than 35 years, 73 per cent of doctors retaining registered in the Specialist Division were female.
The IMO also noted that the number of doctors registered with the Medical Council was more than 20,000 but said this bore “no relation to the number of doctors working in our public health services, or indeed anywhere in Ireland and is not a reflection of the true problems with medical manpower”.
IMO President Dr John Duddy said there was an “urgent need” to create more supportive working environments that will benefit patients and doctors.