Two-thirds increase in exodus of specialists poses risk to patients 

By dara
Friday, 8th March 2024
Filed under: News, PressReleases, 2024

Cover IMC Workforce Intelligence Report 08032024Commenting on today’s (Friday, 8th March 2024) publication of the Medical Council’s ‘Medical Workforce Intelligence Report 2022’, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) expressed its concern at the rise in the number of specialists deciding to leave the Irish health service.

IHCA President Prof Rob Landers said: “In 2022, there were 1,340 voluntary withdrawals from the Medical Register, which is more than a one-third increase compared with the previous year and the highest doctor attrition rate since 2018. However, the retention of our fully trained specialists is of even greater concern.

“Some 361 specialist doctors voluntarily withdrew from the Specialist Division of the Register in 2022. This accounts for 27% of the total number of voluntary withdrawals and represents a staggering 68% increase (+146 withdrawals) on the 215 specialists who left the specialist division in 2021.

“To see a two-thirds increase in the number of specialists leaving the Irish health service in a single year to either go abroad or cease practice is a damning indictment of the situation in the Irish health service and a core reason why we have lengthening patient waiting lists with over 1 million people facing delays in accessing essential diagnostics and treatment. 

“Despite Ireland producing the highest number of medical graduates in the OECD, we are still experiencing a significant exodus of medical professionals to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK.

“The report worryingly found that 61% of doctors are consistently working more than 40 hours per week with 29% regularly working over 48 hours. Such excessive workloads and understaffing in the Irish health service are leading to burnout and driving our specialists abroad, where they can find better conditions and work-life balance.

“The Association also shares the concerns of the Medical Council that the significant number of Consultant posts that are not being adequately filled is impacting on the supervision and training of NCHDs, which in turn can result in patient safety issues.”


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