Nearly half of medical students will leave Ireland

Tue, Jul 3, 2012, 01:00

NEARLY HALF of final-year medical students intend continuing their medical training outside Ireland upon completion of their intern year, a survey carried out by Senator Colm Burke has found.

The survey, which was completed by 186 final-year medical students, found while almost 92 per cent of respondents intended to complete their intern year in an Irish hospital, just 34.5 per cent intended to continue to work in an Irish hospital thereafter.

A further 15.2 per cent said they intended to apply for the Irish General Practitioner Training Scheme following their internship.

This compared with 38 per cent of respondents who said their intention was to work in a hospital outside the UK or Ireland and 5.8 per cent of correspondents who said they intended to work in a hospital within the UK.

A further 0.6 per cent said they intended to train as a GP in the UK.

The remaining 5.8 per cent did not fall into any of the preceding categories.

When asked about their future intentions, 44.5 per cent of correspondents said they would like to be working in Ireland in four years’ time, a figure which rises to 63.4 per cent when asked where they would like to see themselves in 10 years.

When asked to consider what might incentivise medical graduates to remain in Ireland, respondents pointed to the provision of more support services to newly qualified doctors, increased learning supports, and an increase in the ratio of consultants to junior doctors.

Mr Burke, who is Fine Gael spokesman on health in the Seanad, said he had gone about the research following his concerns over a 2011 survey carried out by the HSE’s Medical Education and Training Unit which found that more than 50 per cent of non-consultant hospital doctors had left the State.

“Dealing with the shortage of [non-consultant hospital doctors] in the Irish medical system by recruiting overseas doctors, while continuing to invest significant resources in training medical students in Irish universities, cannot continue as a long-term strategy,” he said.

“We cannot continue to ignore the reasons why so many medical graduates are leaving Ireland so soon after graduating.”

The survey was by way of an anonymous online questionnaire and was made available to final-year medical students at Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, National University of Galway, National University College Cork, National University College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons Dublin.

Just over 80 per cent of those surveyed were Irish, 2.8 per cent were from the EU, and 16.5 per cent comprised students from Canada, Malaysia, Kuwait, Pakistan and the United States.