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One-in-five trainee doctors intend to leave Irish system

The Council’s 2015 Your Training Counts report on the career intentions of trainee doctors found that intern trainees were most likely to say they did not intend to practise in Ireland for the foreseeable future (27 per cent).

The three biggest influences on trainee intent to leave medical practice in Ireland were understaffing (82 per cent), too many non-core tasks (75 per cent) and limited career progression opportunities (72 per cent).

Trainees who were bullied during training were more likely than those who were not to say they were leaving medical practise in Ireland.

According to the report, 58 per cent of trainees see themselves practising in Ireland for the foreseeable future, up 4 per cent on last year.

The UK (30 per cent), Australia (21 per cent) and Canada (21 per cent) were the most frequently mentioned destinations for trainees with intentions to practise elsewhere.

Some 3.4 per cent of trainees intended to leave medicine completely.

Your Training Counts, an annual national trainee experience survey, is designed and delivered by the Council and aims to inform and support the continuous quality improvement of postgraduate medical training in Ireland. Almost 800 trainees answered items on career and retention intentions in 2015.  

Medical Council President Prof Freddie Wood said it was “absolutely essential” that the voices of trainee doctors are heard.

“Increasing numbers are emigrating in search of work elsewhere and the health sector therefore has to address the issues highlighted in the survey,” said Prof Wood.

The Council’s CEO Mr Bill Prasifka added: “Eighty-two per cent of trainees who reported that they were considering practising medicine abroad said they were going to leave because their workplace was understaffed.

“Although we are acutely aware that this is an ongoing issue within the Irish health service, it is our aim to ensure this information is highlighted across the health sector so that proportionate and targeted actions can be taken in key areas requiring reform, thus enhancing the quality of training for these doctors.”

He continued: “These findings are extremely useful as they will complement the quantitative information detailed in the Medical Council’s annual Medical Workforce Intelligence report which we look forward to launching later this year.”

The Medical Workforce Intelligence reports provide a detailed overview of doctors’ practice in Ireland, including data on the exit rates. The latest report will be published in the coming weeks.

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