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There are 158 doctors working in the Irish health service as part of the International Medical Graduate Training Initiative (IMGTI), according to figures provided by the HSE to this newspaper.
For 2019/20 there were 57 doctors who commenced the scholarship programme, according to the HSE figures. These IMG trainees are from Sudan and Pakistan; however, the HSE did not provide a national breakdown for that figures. This number compares to 48 for 2018/19.
There were also 29 “commencing fully sponsored doctors” on the scheme, according to the HSE.
These doctors are from Saudi Arabia and Oman who are “participating on fellowship programmes”. This number compares to 24 for 2018/19.
Asked for a breakdown of which hospitals and hospital groups these doctors work in, the HSE spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that “doctors are based in a variety of hospitals throughout Ireland”.
The IMGTI was highlighted by a number of speakers at the recent ‘Global Health Education Ireland’ symposium which was launched last month at a well attended event in the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland in Dublin (see pages 4-5).
Dr David Weakliam the lead for the HSE Global Health Programme told MI: “Inevitably, as is the case with other countries, there will be situations that we need to recruit internationally and then it is about how we do that in an ethical and appropriate way, and our response to that within the HSE has been to set up a programme currently with doctors from Pakistan and Sudan [IMGTI], whereby they come to Ireland to work for two years, in training posts.
“So it’s of interest in those countries and it’s also to the benefit of us, because they fill some of the gaps. But it is in a very structured way.”