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IMO warns of ‘serious shortage’ of doctors

According to the Organisation, Ireland is already below the OECD average for the number of doctors per head of population and given the predicted change in population there will not be enough doctors in the future.

Currently, over 300 consultant posts are vacant or being filled by temporary locums; there are few or no suitable applicants for consultant posts with many posts having to be advertised a number of times; and 60 per cent of the 2016 newly-qualified interns have already stated their intention to leave at the end of their first year.

There are also serious difficulties in recruiting new GPs into practice and problems for GPs in finding locums, added the Organisation.

Dr Duddy said it is not necessary to wait for recommendations from the Dáil Committee on the Future of Healthcare to address doctor recruitment and retention.

“We can never hope to have a health system that meets the needs of patients if we fail to attract and retain doctors in Ireland,” said Dr Duddy, a specialist registrar in neurosurgery.

“The reasons why doctors are choosing to leave Ireland or not return to Ireland are simple – it is about being able to work in a system where you have the resources and support to do the job for which you are trained and to develop within your chosen specialty.

“Currently doctors are working in poor environments with little or no support so it is hardly surprising that they choose to go and work in health systems that value and respect their skills.”

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