Sunday, June 4, 2023

Almost 50 doctors join ICGP Non-EU Rural GP Programme so far this year

Nearly 50 participants have joined an initiative aimed at combating the ‘brain drain’ in Irish healthcare by attracting non-EU doctors to rural general practice, with more than 20 doctors successfully finishing an induction program

A new initiative aimed at addressing the issue of ‘brain drain’ faced by the Irish healthcare sector by attracting non-EU doctors to rural general practice has garnered nearly 50 participants during its initial phase, the Irish Times has reported.

The paper also reports that more than 20 doctors successfully concluded a three-day induction program facilitated by the ICGP in March, which took place in Portlaoise.

The ICGP has previously stated that it wishes to attract at least 100 doctors to Irish rural practice throughout 2023.

Dr Diarmuid Quinlan, ICGP Medical Director

The HSE supports the Non-EU Rural GP Programme, which helps and supervises non-EU doctors, allowing them to integrate into the field of General Practice in Ireland.

The program also assists them in navigating the process of taking the ICGP (MICGP) exam. Passing this exam leads to Specialist Registration with the Irish Medical Council, ensuring that doctors meet Irish healthcare standards and demonstrate competence.

“The non-EU rural GP programme is one of 10 solutions proposed by the ICGP to the current GP workforce and workload crisis,” explained Dr Diarmuid Quinlan, the ICGP’s Medical Director, in a statement issued to Irish Medical Times.

Dr Quinlan added that the ICGP have already placed 25 GPs in general practices around Ireland and hope to have about 100 in place by the end of the year.

“These are highly experienced and skilled GPs from around the world, including South Africa, India and Pakistan, who will take part in a two-year HSE-funded programme combining frontline GP work with mentoring and training at designated practices,” he continued.

“While this will help ease the workforce crisis in some parts of rural Ireland, we urge the Minister for Health to expedite the Working Group on General Practice to find long term solutions to the shortage of GPs.”

Earlier this month, Dr Paul Armstrong, the outgoing President of the ICGP, highlighted the pressing issue of capacity in General Practice, particularly in light of the government’s proposal to expand free GP care to an additional 500,000 patients.

Dr Armstrong made the comments at the ICGP’s annual conference, held in the Convention Centre, in Dublin, on May 14.

In April, the IMO expressed concern about the government’s plan to extend Free GP Visit cards. They issued a warning, stating that such an expansion would impose an immense burden on the healthcare service, surpassing the capacity that GPs can adequately handle.

Roughly 10 per cent of the population in Ireland currently lacks access to a GP.

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