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‘Inadequate’ funding for academic track intern programme

By Catherine Reilly - 17th Mar 2024

intern programme

Intern Networks have expressed concern over the “inadequate” level of funding to support the successful academic track intern programme.

The programme provides a number of interns with opportunities to undertake clinical research, gain experience in medical education, or enhance their leadership and management skills. In 2023, due to the success of the programme, places doubled from 24 to 48.

The funding of the programme was discussed at a meeting of the Medical Intern Unit management committee in October, according to minutes obtained from the HSE under Freedom of Information law.

The Networks welcomed the increase in the number of academic track interns, but expressed concern “that the funding of the programme is inadequate, taking into consideration current inflation and other factors (gap approximately €200,000)”.

“Members agreed that this programme reports the highest retention of staff and should be funded adequately. Members highlighted that in order for the programme to be competitive it requires an increase in funding.”

A HSE spokesperson commented: “The initial HSE contribution to the academic track intern programme (2017-2022) was approximately €300,000 per annum. This contribution covered the salaries required for 24 academic track intern posts and a 50 per cent contribution to the academic track bursary. In addition, the HSE recognises these extra intern posts within the funding provided to the medical schools for the delivery of intern training and the associated training scheme costs.

“In 2023, funding support from the Department of Health facilitated the HSE to double the number of academic track intern places to 48. The HSE funding contribution to the programme reflects this increase with approximately €600,000 provided to the programme per annum.”

Funding for the 2024 training year has not yet been finalised, according to the spokesperson.

Last year, there were 116 applications for the 48 posts in the academic track intern programme. This compared with 69 applications in 2022, when 24 posts were available.

There will be 48 posts available for the 2024/2025 training year out of a total of 879 intern posts.

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