2 in 3 trainee GPs may leave Ireland

Only one in three trainee GPs "definitely" plan to stay in Ireland when they complete their specialist training, it has emerged.

2 in 3 trainee GPs may leave Ireland

Also, substantial numbers find the financial and employer responsibilities of being a principal or partner GP unattractive.

A career survey by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), which represents more than 90% of GPs in Ireland, found that while more than half of the current GP trainees are undecided about emigrating, 13.1% are definitely planning to do so. However, the number of GP trainees planning to stay in Ireland after they qualify, at 33%, is up from 28% in 2014.

The ICGP is particularly concerned that 44% do not find the financial and employer responsibilities of being a principal or partner GP unattractive.

Of the GP graduates still herein Ireland, one quarter “definitely or possibly” plan to emigrate in the near future and again, being a single-handed GP is not a preferred or anticipated career end point.

Nine out of 10 recent graduates are still working in general practice and one in four of the 16.5% working overseas are planning to return to Ireland to work, up from 17% in 2014.

ICGP director of research Claire Collins said the low percentage of current trainees and recent graduates definitely committed working in Ireland indicated that there was still a GP workforce planning concern.

ICGP director of training Gerard Mansfield said he was concerned that emerging GPs did not like the idea of undertaking, on behalf of the State, responsibility for premises, practice management, administrative staffing and IT information technology in order to provide a GP service.

“The State is funding more clinical care built upon an infrastructure it procures but does not own or control,” said Dr Mansfield. “It does not afford the security of employee status to anyone within this infrastructure and is completely dependent on GPs choosing to take up a contract for service from the State.

“With expanding co- morbidities and an ageing population, the demand for GP services in Ireland is expected to continue to increase.

“The workforce in general practice is a major concern for the Government as they seek to move additional services into general practice and the community.”

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