Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (649, 663, 672, 674, 675, 685, 687, 688, 697, 702, 721, 724, 727, 728, 729, 733, 734, 742)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

649. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the shortage of intern places; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8098/13]

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Tom Fleming

Question:

663. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health if he will address the current deficit of intern places to medical graduates as the State's investment in undergraduate medical education will be squandered due to these graduates being unable to obtain an intern position; if he will take into consideration information (details supplied) and the fact that completing the intern year is a legal requirement in order for graduates of Irish medical schools to practise here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8094/13]

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Eamonn Maloney

Question:

672. Deputy Eamonn Maloney asked the Minister for Health the measures he is taking to address the anticipated shortage of intern places for both EU and non-EU graduates of Irish medical schools this summer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8177/13]

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Michael P. Kitt

Question:

674. Deputy Michael P. Kitt asked the Minister for Health the plans, if any, in place to deal with the shortage of intern places for both EU and non-EU graduates of Irish medical schools, arising as a consequence of the increased number of medical school graduates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8180/13]

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Derek Nolan

Question:

675. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Health if due to an increase in the number of medical school graduates this year there will be a shortage of intern places for both EU and non EU graduates of Irish medical schools; the plans in place to deal with this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8181/13]

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John Paul Phelan

Question:

685. Deputy John Paul Phelan asked the Minister for Health the measures he will put in place to ensure that the current deficit of intern places for medical graduates which has come about as a result of the State's funding of additional medical school places, without the corresponding increase in intern places, will not lead to medical graduates having to leave the country to fully qualify; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8222/13]

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Michael McGrath

Question:

687. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he has any concerns that there may not be sufficient intern places for both EU and non-EU graduates of Irish medical schools later this year; if there are any plans in place to deal with the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8250/13]

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Michael Creed

Question:

688. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is due to be a shortage of intern places available to both EU and non-EU graduates of medical schools here as of July 2013, as identified in the second interim report of the reform of the interim year, and the policy his Department intends to pursue in order to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8251/13]

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Dan Neville

Question:

697. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding intern places; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8330/13]

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Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

702. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that due to the increased number of medical school graduates this year it is anticipated that there will be a shortage of intern places for the graduating classes and that completing the internship is a legal requirement to practise medicine; and if his Department is putting in place the necessary structures to ensure that all qualifying students are facilitated with an internship year. [8335/13]

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Willie O'Dea

Question:

721. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health his plans to deal with the anticipated shortage of intern places in July 2013 for both EU and non-EU graduates of medical schools here, resulting from the investment of State funding for additional medical school places without the corresponding increase in intern places; if his attention has been drawn to the legal requirement for graduates to complete the intern year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8588/13]

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Seamus Healy

Question:

724. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure there will be sufficient medical intern places for graduates of medical schools here available in hospitals from July 2013 as recommended in various reports including the Fottrell Report 2006, the NCMET report and the second interim report on the implementation of the reform of the intern year, April 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8628/13]

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Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

727. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health the concerns raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding medical internships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8672/13]

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Micheál Martin

Question:

728. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health in view of the fact that from this year there will not be enough intern places in Ireland for Irish medical students and other people who train here to complete their mandatory intern year, the action he proposes to take to rectify the situation especially in view of the fact that the intern year is a legal requirement in order for graduates of Irish medical schools to practise here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8685/13]

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Ciaran Lynch

Question:

729. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health the plans in place to deal with the expected shortage of medical intern places to match the number of EU and non EU graduates of Irish medical schools in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8694/13]

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Clare Daly

Question:

733. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that due to the increased number of medical school graduates this year it is anticipated that in July 2013 there will be a shortage of intern places for both EU and non-EU graduates of Irish medical schools; and the action he will take regarding same. [8743/13]

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Timmy Dooley

Question:

734. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health the plans in place to provide intern places for all graduates of Irish medical schools in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8760/13]

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Jim Daly

Question:

742. Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Health his plans to deal with the current deficit of intern places to medical graduates (details supplied) within the Health Service Executive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8825/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 649, 663, 672, 674, 675, 685, 687, 688, 697, 702, 721, 724, 727 to 729, inclusive, 733, 734 and 742 together.

The issue of an adequate number of intern places in the Irish medical system is a priority for my Department and for the HSE. The HSE established an Intern Implementation Group in 2009 to implement aspects of the Report of the NCMET on the Intern Year and I am aware that this Group has issued two Implementation Reports, most recently in April 2012 (Second Interim Report). The intern year is an integral part of medical training, and a medical practitioner cannot be fully accredited without it. There were 572 posts available in Ireland for the July 2012 intern intake, an increase of almost 70 posts since 2007. To date, there have been sufficient posts for all EU graduates from Irish medical schools, and a number of available posts for some non-EU applicants.

My Department has been in regular contact with the HSE in relation to the issue of intern places, with the aim, in so far as is possible, of providing a sufficient number of intern places for Irish/EU graduates from Irish medical schools. In addition, under EU law, intern posts must be open to graduates from other EU countries and the HSE has no control over the numbers applying.

The application process for internships closed in November last, but the HSE will not know the final number of eligible applicants for some time. The final numbers that will proceed to the first round match have not yet been determined, as the overseas candidates must pass the entrance test, meet the HSE English language requirements, provide a Basic Life Support (BLS) certificate, and pass their final year medical exams. Candidates applying from within Ireland must provide a BLS certificate and pass their final year medical exams.

This year the HSE will have approximately 80 additional posts available for interns commencing their training in July. In total, therefore, there will be in the region of 650 places available for 2013, and the HSE is confident that there will be sufficient capacity and funding to ensure that every EU graduate of the six Irish medical schools can access an internship.