IFGH 2012: Trends, 2000-2010, in Country of Qualification of Doctors Registered in Ireland

January 31, 2012

Acknowledgement:Irish Medical Council

Authors:Brugha R.1, Bidwell P.2, Dicker P.1, Humphries N.1, Thomas S.2, Normand C.2

Author Affiliations:1Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 2Trinity College Dublin

Option 1– Scientific / Empirical Research Findings Presented as – Oral Presentation


The Doctor Migration Project aims to provide a better understanding of the scale of Ireland’s reliance on non-EU doctors. It will report on their experiences of working in Ireland and future plans.


The Irish Medical Council (IMC) supplied the research team with a spread-sheet containing the numbers and non- personal information on doctors on its Register, 2000-2010. Data included medical school where qualified, but not nationality. A Biostatistician (PD) created a database, searchable by a unique identifier, and calculated entrants and exits from the register.


The proportion of non-Irish medical graduates rose from 13.4% of all registered doctors in 2000 to 33.4% by 2010. The largest increase was in non-EU graduates, rising from 972 (7.4%) in 2000 to 4,740 (25.3%) of registered doctors in 2010. The biggest source country in 2000 was Pakistan, followed by India, Egypt and Sudan. By 2010, South African trained doctors had overtaken Pakistan, followed by India, Nigeria and Sudan. The number of doctors trained in the EU but outside Ireland doubled from 780 (2000) to 1,521 (2010), mainly due to an increase from Eastern European countries.

Discussion/conclusions/ implications:

Following the 2011 overseas doctor recruitment drive, Ireland may have moved from second to first among OECD countries in the proportion of its doctors trained overseas. In 2008, its proportion of foreign trained nurses was double the country ranked second. Registration data may over-estimate the numbers actively working as health workers in Ireland. However, they (i) illustrate Ireland’s rapidly increasing and potentially unsustainable reliance on foreign-trained health workers to staff its health services; and (ii) are the only currently available measure for reporting on Ireland’s commitment to implementing the Global Code on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, which Ireland must do at the World Health Assembly, May 2012.



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