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DoH ‘has policy discretion’ on training access for ‘stamp 4’ doctors

By Catherine Reilly - 30th Jul 2021

IMO Plaque Pics: Valerie O'Connor 24/06/05 Commissioned by Conor Ganly IMT

The IMO has made its position “very clear” to the Department of Health that all international doctors holding stamp 4 residency should be deemed equivalent to EU nationals when applying for training.

Ahead of an IMO webinar on international doctors’ issues on Tuesday 3 August at 7pm, Industrial Relations Officer Mr Paul Maier said the union had determined that the Department has “policy discretion” in regard to the status of stamp 4 holders applying for postgraduate training.

Non-EU national doctors generally hold stamp 4 immigration status. Most have stamp 4 based on their residency duration in Ireland or based on parentage of an Irish citizen child.

However, these categories of stamp 4 are not deemed equivalent to EU nationality in the training application process and this adversely affects their ranking. In contrast, stamp 4 holders based on marriage to an EU national are deemed equivalent to EU nationals when applying for training.

“We have made representations to the Department of Health making it very clear that we understand they have a policy discretion here, and they should get in line with the rest of Europe in treating those who have stamp 4 or similar status as equivalent to nationals for the purposes of accessing training,” Mr Maier told the Medical Independent.  

“We have made that position clear to the Minister and the Department of Health. Obviously, the Department is considering its position. Similarly, the Department is considering changes for the intern intake in 2022. So I think this will become a key issue as we get through August and go into September …that is going to be one of the areas the Department is going to have to make some key decisions on.”

Mr Maier also encouraged international doctors to take matters of concern to the IMO. The union now has an international doctors’ working group that sits under the NCHD committee.

He said while individual organisations representing various nationality groups have their role, “when it comes to making change in the health service, it would be our view that the best way to do that is through membership of the IMO.

“We want our membership to be reflective of the diversity that the medical community has.”

The upcoming IMO webinar will focus on a range of issues affecting international doctors, including stamp 4/training access, critical skills permits, and use of e-portfolios.

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