Belfast Telegraph

Ireland has lowest number of consultants in EU, report finds

Figures show 1,179 Irish doctors are now working in Australia, while 1,717 of the country’s doctors are working in Canada.

Irish doctors are heading to Australia and Canada to work, figures show (PA)
Irish doctors are heading to Australia and Canada to work, figures show (PA)

Ireland has the lowest number of consultant specialists in the EU, a new global report shows.

The European average is 2.45 consultants per 1,000 head of population, but Ireland’s rate is the lowest in the EU at 1.44 per 1,000, according to the latest health statistics report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The figures also showed that 1,179 Irish doctors are now working in Australia, a 40% increase on 2013.

These figures are yet another indictment of our Government’s lack of regard for the medical profession in Ireland, and are further proof that our system is broken and needs immediate attention Padraig McGarry, IMO president

Some 1,717 of the country’s doctors are working in Canada, while the number of doctors emigrating to the UK each year to work has increased by a third since 2013.

Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) president Padraig McGarry said the new figures demonstrated the “catastrophic consultant shortage in a system which does not respect its doctors”.

“These figures are yet another indictment of our Government’s lack of regard for the medical profession in Ireland, and are further proof that our system is broken and needs immediate attention,” he said.

The IMO said there were more than 7,000 patients on hospital trolleys in the month of June, and 500,000 patients on waiting lists.

“The sad reality is that our youngest doctors, the specialists of the future, simply do not want to work in a system where they are not respected, where they are completely unable to provide the care that they have been trained to do and where one in three doctors suffer from burnout,” Mr McGarry added.

“They are being welcomed with open arms to other shores – we are literally training our doctors for export.

“The lack of specialists in Ireland means that it is impossible for patients in our hospitals to get access to the high levels of care that they deserve. This dire situation must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

The IMO also said Ireland produces one of the highest amount of medical graduates in the EU each year and yet vacant consultant posts are being advertised “without a single applicant”.

Mr McGarry said Health Minister Simon Harris had made a promise at the IMO’s annual general meeting in April to work with the organisation to find a process to end the issue of new entrant consultant pay but that they were “still waiting – as are 500,000 patients who are currently on waiting lists, in need of care that cannot be currently delivered”.

PA

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