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Medical Council welcomes law removing internship equivalency requirement

The Medical Council has welcomed the signing of a commencement order by the Minster for Health of sections of the Regulated Professions (Health and Social Care) (Amendment) Act 2020.

It means that from today any doctor who is eligible for general registration with the Medical Council can now apply for specialist training programmes in Ireland.

However, non-EU doctors have pointed out that the appliance of EU community preference in the training post application process means many doctors are locked out of such posts, even if they are technically eligible for trainee registration with the Council. They have called for a parallel pathway to training, or formal means of recognising their training in non-training posts.

Data gathered by the Medical Council through the annual Medical Workforce Intelligence Report in recent years has shown that large numbers of non-EU doctors are withdrawing from the medical register in Ireland in order to access further training and career progression in other jurisdictions. This is “to the detriment of Irish hospitals and healthcare facilities”, according to the Council’s statement today.

“The Medical Council has long sought amendments to the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 to address a number of issues and welcomes this development, which now removes the barrier to accessing postgraduate training for non-EU qualified doctors.”

Medical Council President, Dr Rita Doyle, said: “It is well known that the Irish healthcare system is dependent on foreign trained doctors, who bolster our workforce and bring great knowledge and experience to patient care. In recent years the departure of these doctors to other countries where they can avail of further training has been a drain on our healthcare system. Through the Medical Council’s research we have been able to highlight this issue with data and press for these changes to be implemented.”

“These amendments will benefit not just the doctors who can now undertake further training and education, but also patients who will have access to a well-trained medical workforce.”

Mr Philip Brady, Medical Council CEO, said: “Accessing further training has been an issue for non-EU trained doctors. The removal of the requirement to have the equivalent of a certificate of experience for registration in the Trainee Specialist Division will open access to doctors who are appropriately qualified and have established eligibility for General Registration. This is a major development which we greatly welcome.”

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