There was an increase in the number of stage one medical intern training applications in November 2022 compared to the previous year, according to figures provided to this newspaper.
The 2023 medical intern training application process began in October and stage one applications increased by 6 per cent, to over 1400, compared to the previous year, the HSE told the Medical Independent (MI).
The HSE also highlighted that the number of places has increased in recent years in line with “workforce requirements as well as a number of other positive changes within the internship year and medical training in Ireland”.
The HSE spokesperson told MI that these “positive changes” included a “20 per cent increase in intern places to pre-Covid levels for July 2023 with 879 internship posts available”.
The spokesperson also noted the permanent addition of a paid week of overlap for incoming and outgoing interns and the development of a new national competency-based curriculum.
The intern application process begins each October and runs up to the national match and post offers, which are issued at the start of the following June.
There are a number of deadlines during the recruitment process. The next and final deadline is candidates’ centile ranking and medical school declaration of good standing letters, which are sought directly from the medical school Dean/Head, by the HSE national recruitment service no later than 22 May 2023.
The spokesperson added that “an extra 120 intern posts were permanently established in 2021 and a further 24 posts from this July”. According to the HSE, this means “there is a greater chance of securing an intern place” for those who have applied this year.
The Executive spokesperson said there was also “increased financial supports for interns”.
Meanwhile, the HSE referred to increases in specialist training positions.
“The number of training posts at the next stage of training following intern year, basic specialist training (BST), are increasing year-on-year over the last five years and will increase again this year,” said the spokesperson. The number of year one basic training posts had increased by 21 per cent over the last five years “particularly within the BST programmes in surgery, psychiatry, and general practice”.
“Increases will continue in the coming years – particularly in GP training to meet workforce planning demands.”