Half of young doctors intend to leave
An intern in one Cork Hospital has questioned why any graduate would stay in a country where interns are "tortured and not even paid for their torture."
The comments came following a survey on medical students which found that over half intend to leave the country after their studies.
The survey, carried out by the office of Cork Senator Colm Burke, calls for an immediate introduction of structured contracts to be offered to those students after they complete their intern year and for the Health Service executive (HSE) not to rely on foreign-trained doctors.
One intern in a Cork hospital who wished to remain annonymous stated that the “HSE does f*** all for interns and for people in the profession to trust them at all.”
“They are tearing up contracts and reducing pay for interns all the time. Interns starting this year will earn €2,000 less than interns last year, which is a pretty bad thing to do to people working every hour there is.”
“They are also refusing to pay any overtime, overtime that every intern has to do on top of their on-call hours, which averages out at between four to five hours. It results in less cover for interns and more and more of them are going abroad. Why would you stay in a country that tortures and even more, doesn’t pay you for the torture?”
“There are different aspects to the effect that the poor graduate retention is having,” said Senator Burke.
“There is of course, the cost factor, where it costs on average each medical €25,000 per annum to go through medical school and training. That is such a large amount of investment to be losing within 12 months of a student finishing their studies in Ireland.”
Senator Burke was critical of the HSE’s decision to pursue and recruit doctors from India and Pakistan, marking Ireland as one of the most dependent healthcare systems in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) on foreign-trained doctors, despite the amount of medical students trained in Ireland.
“With the amount of doctors we have in the country we should be self-sufficient,”commented Senator Burke.
“We have jobs for these graduates to enter but they are deciding to leave due to a range of factors, including dissatisfaction with medical training structure and working hours. The medical care that doctors in India and Pakistan receive is not the same standard that we have here.”
Senator Burke urged the HSE to introduce a more structured contract for those junior doctors completing their intern year, suggesting a three-year contract shared between large and small hospitals as an effective method to spread the workload.
The survey also highlighted a disconnect between the HSE and the aspirations of the medical graduates, with the overriding priority being patient care.
“Junior Doctors are in the frontline of that patient care but they are finding themselves in a one way street and their training is not one of the priorities of their employer. There needs to be a more supportive approach by the HSE and the Voluntary Hospitals in dealing with junior doctors.”
The HSE did not respond to our queries by the time of going to print.
The survey is expected to be raised in the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health today (Thursday). To see the report in full visit www.colmburke.eu