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John Halligan
Health Service

TD: Indian-born doctors are being used as a 'band-aid' in Irish hospitals

Waterford deputy John Halligan says many Indian doctors are likely to leave the country as they’re not being afforded the same rights as their Irish colleagues.

THE ISSUE OF two Indian-born doctors who resigned from Waterford Regional Hospital last week after being refused permission to join the Medical Council’s training register was raised by Waterford Independent TD John Halligan in the Dáil this morning.

The deputy claims that doctors from the country are being used as a ‘band aid’ in hospitals here to bridge gaps in services, but that they are not afforded the same rights as their Irish and European colleagues.

He raised the question of why Indian doctors brought into this country since 2011 were not being permitted to join the register “which would afford them the rights of their colleagues from everywhere else in the world to progress their medical training”.

“Both the HSE and Department of Health are aware of this situation and yet they continue to send out a clear message to these Indian doctors: that they are sufficiently qualified to provide essential services in a time of crisis, but we do not want them in our hospitals in the long-term.”

The Technical Group member warned that many Indian doctors were in danger of ‘upping and leaving’ Irish hospitals over the matter “which would have a catastrophic effect on already battered staffing levels”.

Addressing Health Minister James Reilly in the Dáil this morning, he asked whether Indian-born doctors working in Irish hospitals were adequately qualified, and if they were, why they weren’t allowed join the register.


Health Minister James Reilly [Image: Oireachtas TV]

The Minister said he had only been informed of the issue this morning, but that he had been told that “as of yesterday,” Waterford had its full complement of eight consultants “including two on a  temporary basis”.

“Now if the two are the same ones on temporary contracts then that’s something I can take up with the Deputy. I’ll have to speak with the Department.”

He said the issue was primarily a matter for the Medical Council, which was an independent statutory body and “not one in which I can interfere”.

Regarding their registration rules he said that: “Qualifications are qualifications. There are differences in reciprocal arrangements in different countries.”

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