Running out of doctors

Sir, – The shortage of doctors in the Irish health service is completely unsurprising ("Running out of doctors", Editorial, July 3rd).

First, Ireland makes entry into medical school extremely difficult for Irish students by making them compete for too few places, not just through the Leaving Certificate examination, but also through a dubious special exam designed to test “suitability” for a life in medicine, something that is impossible to measure.

Ireland then charges foreign students huge fees to take up hundreds of places in its medical schools, and when these foreign students qualify as doctors they are not allowed to work in Ireland, even though they have an Irish medical qualification and understand the Irish health service.

When young Irish graduates start to work as junior doctors in Irish hospitals, they are treated so badly – with poor pay, poor conditions and lack of structured training – that rather than continue to work in Ireland, they emigrate to remote parts of the world, such as snow-bound western Canada, or the Outback in Australia.


Ireland then imports doctors from all around the world to fill the shortage of doctors caused by all of the above mismanagement. However, political correctness and fear of being called racist and xenophobic combine to ensure that these foreign doctors cannot be assessed and critiqued sufficiently.

Finally the Irish nation scratches its collective head and wonders what it has done wrong. – Yours, etc,


Sydney, Australia.