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Currently, doctors whose internships are not deemed equivalent to Irish Medical Council standards are permanently barred from training posts, irrespective of experience accrued and memberships they may hold. This affects doctors from many non-EU countries.
Speaking to MI at the IMO AGM last weekend, Minister Varadkar said it appeared that legislative change was required.
“I need to check out whether that is a statutory instrument — which is relatively straightforward — or whether it would require primary legislation, which is not straightforward, but I am certainly keen to do it.”
Asked about the timeline on this, Minister Varadkar told MI: “I’d like to have it done this year. If it requires primary legislation, we could either put it into a Health Miscellaneous Act or Medical Practitioners Act later in the year. The risk of getting caught up with the general review of the Medical Practitioners Act is that that would then really [cause a] delay.”
At its AGM, the IMO passed a motion calling on the Medical Council to change its rules, or recommend a legislative change, so that affected NCHDs could access the Trainee Specialist Division.
Dr Charles Goh of the NCHD Committee described as “ludicrous” a situation whereby doctors “in good standing” and who sometimes supervised trainees were unable to access specialist training.
Former IMO President Dr Matt Sadlier agreed and “strongly” supported the motion.
An affected doctor, Dr Suhas Jadhav, who spoke in support of the motion, said many of his Indian colleagues are leaving.
He told MI: “In 2011 when I came in there were 150 doctors with me that came from India. Almost half have already left the country…All my friends who are asking about coming to the country in the future, I am just saying to them, ‘look, I am here and there is no future’.”
Dr Jadhav, a Registrar at Tallaght Hospital, holds Membership of the RCPI, which he noted as far advanced to the level of an internship.
“Is an Indian internship much more valued than Irish [RCPI] Membership?” he asked rhetorically.
Dr Goh told MI that some 300 doctors may be affected by this issue.
See feature p 4-5