Stephen Donnelly to increase number of medical intern posts

Minister committed to expanding medical workforce by creating more training places

The Government is to increase the number of standard medical intern posts by 120, introduce additional postgraduate training places and provide fellowship positions for senior doctors from July, the Minister for Health has said.

Stephen Donnelly said he was committed to increasing the medical workforce and that the initiative – costing €11 million over two years – would offer opportunities for training, including for doctors at a senior level.

He has faced criticism from doctors and medical students over recent weeks for not maintaining a system introduced last year by the then government to offer everyone graduating in medicine in Ireland an internship in the Irish health service as part of the Covid-19 pandemic response.

‘Standard annual intake’

The Health Service Executive said this month the “standard annual intake” of medical interns was to be reintroduced this year and that 734 posts would be filled this July.


Mr Donnelly said on Sunday that the number of intern posts in July would be increased to 854 places. He said there would in future be a one-week overlap between exiting and incoming interns.

He said 12 new training posts would also be established while 40 non-training positions in the health service would be converted to training posts. This would see the permanent establishment of 40 fellowships for senior doctors who have a certificate of satisfactory completion of specialist training, he said.

Formal review

The Department of Health said the additional postgraduate training posts announced by the Minister were in addition to an already-approved increase of 114 across postgraduate training programmes for this July's intake.

It also said the HSE would be undertaking a formal review of the number of intern posts and postgraduate training positions to ensure the numbers were in line with future medical workforce planning requirements.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent