The European Junior Doctors’ Permanent Working Group (EJD) calls on the Irish government and health authorities to take urgent steps to improve the training and working conditions of Irish nonconsultant hospital doctors (NCHDs), which are causing an exodus of these physicians from Ireland.
The EJD is concerned by recent research by the Medical Council of Ireland, which has highlighted a growing problem with Ireland’s ability to retain NCHDs. Only half of the NCHDs in Ireland see themselves practising in the country on a long-term basis, while the country has the greatest reliance on foreign-trained doctors of all OECD member states, and the lowest number of professionally active doctors in western Europe. Many Irish-trained NCHDs are fleeing a health system that fails to properly regulate their working hours, and does not deliver their training in a manner that is effectively structured and supported. Fundamentally, NCHDs feel they are not treated with respect by the Irish healthcare system, which is over-stressed, understaffed, and suffers from ever worsening morale
A core principle of the ‘AEMH-FEMS-EJD Vienna Declaration’, made earlier this year, is that each European country should be in a position to meet its need for physicians from its own human resources. Therefore the EJD believes that training and working conditions in each European state should be of a sufficiently high standard to ensure the retention of junior doctors trained in that state. Ireland must prioritise the application of these high standards to its own health system to guarantee the welfare, safety, and retention of the NCHDs it employs.