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Agency contracts for junior doctors could cost €21 million this year

The Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on health says that Ireland has been ‘over-reliant’ on foreign doctors.

File photo
File photo
Image: Radu Razvan via Shutterstock

THE ‘EXODUS’ OF junior doctors could cost the State over €20 million this year, a Fine Gael senator has claimed.

Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on health Colm Burke said that urgent action must be taken to tackle the cost.

The call comes after Health Minister James Reilly pledged to better the conditions of junior doctors, who he said were being trained to move abroad. He added that Ireland was ‘scouring the third world’ for doctors.

Burke said that figures he was given by the HSE show that the cost of non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) for the first half of the year was over €8.5 million and is expected to rise in the second half of the year.

“In 2012, the total cost to the HSE of employing junior doctors under agency contracts was over €18 million. The cost of these services is likely exceed that figure and could reach €21 million this year as the HSE has encountered severe difficulties in recruiting junior doctors for the second six month period of this year.”

Burke went on to say that the Irish system had become ‘over-reliant’ on foreign doctors.

“In the period 2000 – 2010 there was a 259% increase in the number of foreign trained doctors registering with the Irish Medical Council.  We have become over reliant on foreign trained doctors to come and work in Ireland.

However, recent trends are now suggesting that they too, like Irish doctors, have become dissatisfied with working conditions here and are now choosing countries other than Ireland for employment.

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