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OPINION: Finding a doctor in Ireland’s medical card no-man’s land

Photo by Daragh Moller

Storm Immigration rages over Ireland as governmental neglect of damaged state-owned entities give rise to tempers on the up and up. Housing and health stand out as the biggest bugbears of the State’s failure to provide for its people. Media report that finding a doctor should be so hard a national scandal; the national and regional press are full of it, even the radio stations.

Ireland is the only western European country that doesn’t provide universal coverage for primary care. Yet, in a recently published healthcare poll, where Taiwan ranked the country with the best healthcare system in the world, Ireland ranked 6th in the world out of 110 countries, amazingly.  

Global media speculate that demoralized doctors fed up with defunct cash-strapped systems of healthcare are leaving their countries in droves. Not to America though, which has its own problems.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI) reports: “In 2022, 442 Irish doctors were issued with temporary work visas for Australia. This is a significant number of doctors compared with the total that Ireland trains each year (725 graduated in 2021).” Burnout is a cause suggested by medical bodies here.

Surprising then that Ireland should be such a desirable location for doctors from abroad.

“Ireland graduates the highest number of doctors per capita in Europe but has the highest rate of doctors from other countries,” says Prof Martin Curley MRIA, professor of innovation at Maynooth University.

The attraction to Ireland might come from the Non-EU GP scheme that offers non-EU doctors the opportunity of full-time work and residency.

Dr Cissy Atwine, a Nigerian woman living and working in the UK, recommends Ireland as one of a number of desirable EU destinations open to qualified doctors from outside the EU. One woman’s loss is another woman’s opportunity.

Dr Cissy Atwine on her Youtube channel.

Dr Imran Khan provides a scenic tour of life as a GP in the Northwest, for those coming from Arab countries.

Dr Imran Khan spells out How to Become a GP in Ireland.

Dr Christopher and his wife, Everlycece, explain how Ireland offers a smooth transition to a medical career overseas. Their conversation offers an interesting exploration of Ireland and its healthcare system from an outsiders point of view and inside-track point of view from two medical professionals now within the Irish system.

Christopher and Everlycece offer the inside and outside track to moving to Ireland as a doctor.

Meanwhile Noyan Muini is a resident doctor based in Manchester who promotes the steady hardworking life of a doctor.

Noyan Muini shares his Day in the Life of a doctor abroad.

The national health service of Ireland or HSE for short, says finding a doctor only takes a medical card. A GP visit card is a card that gives you free visits to a GP. If you are not eligible for a medical card, you may be eligible for a GP visit card.

However, as this report shows, there is currently no availability of GPS in many rural areas in Ireland. In addition, Irish hospitals have commented that almost no Irish nurses work in their hospital anymore, citing poor conditions and long hours. Nursing staff now comes mostly from outside the EU. Reviews by staff of the Irish healthcare executive, or HSE, reveal disgruntled employees with contagious low self-esteem: Working at Health Service Executive: 70 Reviews | Indeed.com

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