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International doctors scheme could be expanded – HSE

The International Medical Graduate Training Initiative (IMGTI) could be expanded to help reduce “some of the HSE’s over-reliance on non-training scheme doctors”, the Executive has said.

Around 200 trainees are participating in IMGTI programmes, which enable international doctors to undertake a fixed period of clinical training in Ireland.

At an IMGTI joint committee meeting in February, Director of HSE National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP) Prof Frank Murray advised that recommendations from a review of the non-training doctors’ grade “would potentially have implications” for the IMGTI.

“Potential expansion of the programme will need to be considered within the context of posts available within the system, their suitability for training, and capacity to deliver,” stated the minutes. 

Meanwhile, an IMGTI joint committee meeting in December discussed an article in The Guardian highlighting a shortage of 9,000 doctors in the UK and plans to “relax immigration rules” to allow entry to more international doctors.

“The committee discussed how this would have an impact on competition in terms of the Pakistan/Sudan programmes, but also potentially fully sponsored training programmes in Ireland.”

According to the HSE, the situation “will be monitored and if it impacts on the Irish IMGTI programmes it will then be discussed further”.

At a joint committee meeting in February, correspondence from an NHS Foundation Trust medical HR manager requesting the establishment of a link with the IMGTI programme was raised. This followed the appointment of a high calibre candidate, who had participated in the IMGTI, as a clinical fellow in paediatrics at the Trust. However, it is understood this was an exploratory approach and no link was established.

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