Lets revive the Irish health system #TrainUsForIreland

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Ireland is highly dependent on overseas doctors. According to an OECD report published in 2017, 42.3% of doctors practicing in Ireland are from overseas. A good chunk of these doctors however, have been leaving Ireland within the first couple of years. An article published in 2019 by the Irish times stated that between 2015-17 more than 2800 doctors had withdrawn from the Irish medical register. One of the main reasons for leaving given by these doctors was lack of training options for overseas doctors in Ireland.

As you are all aware, non-scheme trainees have faced and are still facing difficulties in career progression in Ireland. This has led to frustration amongst non-scheme trainees who are mostly non-Irish/non-EU despite making Ireland home; leading most non-scheme trainees to a halt in their career or to leave Ireland for clearer training opportunities elsewhere. This is clearly a situation that would not benefit the Irish health care system; a healthcare system that has high dependency on non-scheme trainees to run its system.

The lack of clarity in career progression from training bodies for non-scheme trainee doctors has led to a halt in training progression across all specialties for non-scheme trainee doctors in Ireland.

Let’s have a quick look at a fresh medical graduate (overseas and local) career progression in the Irish health system.

There are two possible pathways:
1. Training pathway i.e. competitive application for BST and HST and completion of scheme to be admitted to the specialist register
2. Alternative pathway which is available to a select few with strong references who maintain a self created log-book for the 5+ years they've worked here (post MRCPI with BST exemption)

The United Kingdom (which is where most non-scheme trainees often leave to) is the closest to Ireland in terms of training pathway as it has two options too. However, the second option is defined clearly (CESR) by the training bodies on its website for those who want to go down this route to progress in their career.

Another cause for concern is the abolishment of BST exemption. New revelations erupted last year when a group of doctors contacted the RCPI to inquire about an alternate pathway/apply for HST post-membership. They were advised to provide proof of BST equivalence/exemption to be eligible for this route. Unfortunately, their assessment/log books were rejected with a clear and final answer stating that training bodies had recently stopped approving BST exemptions based on these documentations.

After lengthy verbal discussions with higher authorities of the RCPI, we were recommended to do a national survey on all non-scheme trainees to determine their thought process regarding career progression in Ireland.

We start our aim by firstly compiling data by performing a survey (with a parallel online petition) and then to present the findings to the HSE, IMO, training bodies and Health Minister in order to:
1. End discrimination against non-Irish/non-EU medical doctors when applying for training posts
2. Highlight the lack and disparity of training opportunities for non-scheme trainees in Ireland
3. Ensure equal career opportunities/pathways for for all doctors in Ireland
4. Get the training bodies to launch national guidelines with appropriate log book on its website for the acknowledgement of non-scheme trainees' work whilst in Ireland

Lets unite and have our voices heard!