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Non-EU doctors in Ireland to get more access to specialist training after pandemic campaign

The move has been hailed as “a very important achievement”.

Paediatric doctor Mohsin Kamal has been campaigning on the issue.
Paediatric doctor Mohsin Kamal has been campaigning on the issue.
Image: Mohsin Kamal

HEALTH MINISTER STEPHEN Donnelly has announced changes to the application process for postgraduate medical training programmes that will make it easier for non-EU citizens progress. 

The change will provide greater career opportunities for doctors from non-EU/EEA countries who have been living and working in Ireland.

Up to now, a HSE and Department of Health policy of self-sufficiency meant that EU/EEA citizens were given preference when applying for postgraduate medical training.

There has been an increasing push during the pandemic to recognise the contribution made by non-EU doctors here with some seeking greater access to the higher ranks of Ireland’s healthcare system. 

Last year, the Regulated Professions (Health and Social Care) Amendment Bill 2020 was passed to give greater access to training for non-EU doctors but some argued that most doctors here wouldn’t benefit from that change. 

One of those was paediatric doctor Mohsin Kamal, who has worked in Ireland for over five years in hospitals in Kilkenny, Letterkenny and Cork. He previously told The Journal that he felt like he was “bottom of the list” in seeking specialist training. 

“If there are 29 positions and 30 applicants, if one of them is from Pakistan and the rest of the 29 candidates are from Ireland and the Europe, and the fully-qualified doctor from Pakistan gave a great interview and his CV was brilliant… he will not be given the opportunity to get training, ” Kamal said last year.

Today, he described the move by the minister as “a very important achievement”. 

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In a statement today, Donnelly he’s “long recognised the significant role that non-EEA nationals play in the Irish health service” and added that the change was based on a review undertaken by his department.

“Today’s changes reflect my ongoing commitment to recruiting high quality medical trainees, which is essential to providing high quality patient care for citizens. I am delighted to announce that this policy change will apply to the July 2022 postgraduate intake recruitment process that will take place this autumn,” he said.

“The policy change is supported by our training bodies, the chief academic officers at our hospital groups and many advocates for equality in our health service. I will continue to work with the HSE and the Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies to increase the number of available training places in line with medical workforce planning requirements.”

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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