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MI understands that the Medical Council will be meeting in the near future to decide on whether to accredit the new training programme in military medicine.
A spokesperson for the Department of Defence told MI: “The current position is that the Medical Council final accreditation for the Military Medicine Training Programme is awaited. Issues around funding are currently being finalised subject to final accreditation. It is planned to launch the programme in 2017.”
MI has learned that the programme proposes an intake of two trainees per year. It is anticipated that two years will be spent in hospital-based training at basic specialist training level.
The higher specialist training component will last for three years and involve training in general practice and specialties relevant to military medicine. After five years of training, doctors will be registered in the specialties of general practice and military medicine.
It is believed the trainees will provide a return of service to the Defence Forces for a further three years after completion of training, and may then decide to remain in the military or work as a GP in the community.
In October 2015, the then Minister for Health Leo Varadkar approved the Council’s decision to recognise military medicine as a specialty. This provided a mandate for the development of a training programme that will allow doctors to train specifically for a medical role in the Defence Forces.
The specialty of military medicine was the last to be approved before the Council suspended assessment of new applications for specialty recognition. Currently, the Council is engaged in a review of how it assesses such applications.