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Work needs to be done to stop young Irish doctors going abroad

Young Irish doctors need to be provided with an “option other than exit” from Ireland, the IHCA AGM heard.

“The rate at which Irish doctors are opting to emigrate to Australia and elsewhere is unsustainable,” according to Dr Niamh Humphries (PhD), Reader in Health Systems Research at the RCPI, who interviewed young Irish doctors in Australia as part of her research.

“I think we are losing doctors almost as fast as we can train them and this will have implications for all of us and the care that we receive from the healthcare system into the future. The solution I think lies in valuing our doctors more, encouraging them to voice their concerns with the Irish health system, but most importantly using their concerns and the issues they raise to trigger change,” said Dr Humphries.

“Unless we change things in the Irish health service doctors may continue to leave at the rate they are leaving and will be be reluctant to return to work in the Irish health system. Overall if we want to retain the excellent doctors that we train we really need to give them an option other than exit.”

Also speaking at the AGM, Consultant Rheumatologist in St James’s Hospital, Dublin, Prof Gaye Cunnane told delegates that “there is an ever increasing workload, partly due to the increase in the population over the last decade or so. EWTD [European Working Time Directive] has meant there is a disintegration of the sense of team and that increases our sense of isolation for both junior staff and consultants.

“When the resources are limited, it tends to pit one specialty against another creating a sense of ‘them and us’.

“All of us want to feel recognised in our work and to feel that we are all doing a good job and to feel that we have done something worthwhile. It is important that we have a sense of worth, because that is what drives us.”

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