Medical graduates and debt

 

Sir, – It is not well known that approximately one-third of Irish medical graduates now are self-funded via the graduate medicine entry scheme, which was enacted over 10 years ago to increase the number of medical graduates in response to an anticipated shortage of non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) highlighted in the Fottrell report.

Most of us, having done a previous degree or worked in another career, tend to stay in Ireland and work towards consultancy here. We funded our own medical education, to the tune of some €60,000-plus in fees which necessitated large loans.

Yet now that we are working, none of these educational loan repayments are eligible for tax credits.

Four years post-graduation, many of my colleagues can afford to pay interest only on their debt, while mortgages and raising families seem like pipe-dreams for many of us.

I would submit that an easy way to retain our medical graduates would be to reward those of us who work and pay our taxes in Ireland and who have paid 100 per cent for the privilege of being doctors with significant personal debt. – Yours, etc,

Dr ERICA MAGUIRE,

Dublin 7.