RCSI calls for action on medical students’ intern positions

International students unable to complete training due to high demand for ‘internships’

In an open letter to the HSE an NUI Galway medical graduate has said students are unable to complete their medical training in Ireland as a result of the high demand for “intern” positions this year. Photograph: Alan Betson

In an open letter to the HSE an NUI Galway medical graduate has said students are unable to complete their medical training in Ireland as a result of the high demand for “intern” positions this year. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

International students are unable to complete their medical training in Ireland due to the high demand for “intern” positions this year.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has called for “urgent” action to ensure Irish/EU and international medical graduates are able to complete their “intern” year, at a time when there is an acute shortage of qualified doctors.

It was responding to an open letter on the issue to the Health Service Executive from an NUI Galway (NUIG) medical graduate last Friday.

Canadian student Pishoy Gouda, who posted the letter online, said this year had marked one of the most competitive for medical graduates seeking internships which would allow them to complete their registration.

He said he was among many international graduates caught in this situation.

Mr Gouda recently undertook research for NUIG which showed about 90 per cent of Irish medical students were considering migrating after their intern year.

Surplus

Citizenship is also a factor in allocation, as Irish graduates are given first preference, before EU citizens and other applicants.

Under European working laws, a post cannot be offered to a non-EU or European Economic Area national if a suitable EU/EEA candidate can be found.

“I think the concept behind this is fair enough,” Mr Gouda said, noting that Irish citizens “are more likely to stay in the country after they complete their training”.

“Unfortunately, that is not the whole story. Ireland finds itself in healthcare crisis, with shortages of doctors across the country.”

He said it didn’t make sense that junior doctors were leaving the State, even as the HSE was recruiting junior doctors from other countries, and it was also “sending away international medical graduates trained in Irish medical schools”.