The development will see new training positions opened up to doctors across Ireland
The RCPI was very pleased to recently announce the establishment of additional training positions, representing a more than 20 per cent increase in places. It is “a huge achievement and huge opportunity for doctors working in Ireland right now”, according to College CEO Dr Terry McWade.
On 24 June, the RCPI announced that there would be more than 90 additional postgraduate training places made available to doctors within the College.
“We worked closely with the HSE to support these additional specialist medical training opportunities. To see this project come to fruition, at such a difficult time during the current pandemic, and with such a substantial increase in training positions is something that was welcomed across the College,” stated Dr McWade.
“We are very grateful to our colleagues within the HSE who we have worked with to make these additional posts a reality.”
Dr McWade said that, particularly in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, these positions will help to ensure the health of patients at this difficult time and into the future.
“The health service is facing significant challenges in delivering healthcare in a Covid-19 environment and one of these challenges is ensuring we have the numbers of appropriately-trained doctors to deliver this care. Because of these additional positions, more doctors working in our health service will have the opportunity to train as specialists in those areas in which we need them most.”
Dr McWade said: “These places mean that more doctors working in our health service will have the opportunity to train as specialists as part of a structured training programme in Ireland. It means that we will have more doctors trained to a higher recognised standard in the health service. It also means there will be more highly-qualified specialists in key areas such as public health medicine, occupational medicine, infectious diseases and clinical microbiology — specialties which we know are all are crucial in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
He continued: “We hope these opportunities are attractive to newly-qualified doctors, including those who returned to Ireland or opted to stay here to care for patients during the pandemic.”
Prof Mary Horgan, President of the RCPI, echoed Dr McWade’s sentiments in relation to these additional training positions and was particularly keen to recognise how these might positively impact on those doctors who chose to return to Ireland to work during the current pandemic.
“In recent months, it has been heartening to see many young Irish doctors return from abroad to help in the Irish health system — answering ‘Ireland’s call’. This year has also seen many doctors graduate early to support patient care on the frontline. These training posts now offer career development opportunities for doctors working here, which I hope many of them will take up.”
Prof Horgan added: “It is a priority that these posts are created in hospitals across Ireland to support patient care requirements in hospitals in all of the regions. The increase in the number of training positions in hospitals all over Ireland will create more opportunities for doctors who are currently working in our health service to access high-quality training.”
Prof Horgan said that the benefits of these additional posts will aid not just the patients and doctors, but the health service more generally.
The majority of these additional places — some 80 in total — have been made available on the College’s basic specialist training (BST) programme.
“To give you some information on what is available, eligible doctors will join our basic specialist training programme in one of three specialties: General internal medicine; paediatrics; and obstetrics and gynaecology, with programmes ranging from two-to-three years in length,” according to Dr McWade.
“These additional places were open to EU and non-EU doctors and the application process was a competitive one. For those who are successful, SHO posts will be approved for BST from July 2020 and successful doctors will undertake BST in the same way as any other doctor on the programme. The only difference is the recruitment timeline.
“We wanted to mobilise quickly with these positions, and worked hard within the RCPI to ensure that this happened.”
Prof Horgan said: “We currently have 1,450 doctors on training programmes all over Ireland and I look forward to welcoming this new cohort of trainees to the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and to join our community of doctors. We know that as part of our training programmes, doctors not only receive world-class medical education, but make life-long connections with the College, and as much as we are welcoming them to a training post, we’re also welcoming them into College life.”
Finally, she added: “This is a hugely positive step in postgraduate medical education in Ireland and one that I am delighted we are leading the way on.”
To find out more on the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, visit www.rcpi.ie. This article was produced by the RCPI.