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More than half of non-EU doctors would not recommend to colleagues to work for the HSE, according to a new survey.
The survey, which was conducted by the recently-established group ‘Train Us for Ireland’, found that 53.5 per cent of respondents would not make such a recommendation.
According to the survey, 97.7 per cent of respondents believed there are not sufficient opportunities for career progression in Ireland and only half of these are aware of a parallel pathway to get their posts recognised towards specialisation.
Train Us for Ireland, which was established in June 2020, received close to 400 responses to the survey from non-scheme medical trainees (NSTs), who are mainly non-Irish/non-EU doctors.
Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI), co-founder of Train Us for Ireland Dr Liqa ur Rehman describes the body as a “peaceful medium to convey the voice of non-scheme trainees in Ireland to training bodies, such as the RCPI, with current evidence”.
“There were colleagues from various nationalities (Pakistani, Sudani, Malaysian, Egyptian, etc) who had been highlighting concerns regarding career progression for the past year and so I wanted that our collective voice be heard,” Dr Rehman, who is a Paediatrics Registrar at Galway University Hospital, told MI.
The results of the survey have been sent to all training bodies, the Medical Council, and local TDs.
On 7 August, the group received a response from the Medical Council, stating that an amendment to the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 was in process which would remove the requirement for internship equivalency to access the training division.
“One of the amendments to the Act will remove the requirement to hold the equivalent of a certificate of experience for entry in the trainee specialist division,” a spokesperson for the Medical Council told MI.
“This will remove the barrier for non-EU doctors to access specialist training.”
Although this has been delayed due to Covid-19, the process should recommence during the latter part of this year.
Once the legislation is enacted, the Council will then start making changes to their own processes.
The RCPI issued a reply to the group on 13 July, stating that the issues raised will be discussed during a meeting of the Forum of Irish Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies.
A spokesperson for the RCSI told this newspaper that the College “continues to work closely with the NDTP [National Doctors Training and Planning], the Forum of Irish Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies and the Irish Medical Council to improve career development supports for those in non-training and training positions”.
Train Us for Ireland has written a letter, published in this issue of MI (p19), which further details the survey results and the concerns of the group.
It comes following a letter by Surgical Registrar Dr Naveed Abbas, published in MI’s 20 August issue, in memory of Dr Syed Waqqar Ali Shah.
In the letter Dr Abbas highlighted the lack of training opportunities for non-EU doctors, stating non-EU doctors were working in “an inherently racist system”.