Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (639)

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

639. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 221 of 13 February 2013, on medical intern places, the plans there are to accommodate non-EU students attending Irish medical schools in medical intern positions here; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there will be a shortage of about 30 places; the responsibility the Health Service Executive has to resolve same; the action being taken; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that it is too late for non-EU students to apply for intern places in other jurisdictions and that many non-EU students were not clearly informed that they will not be able to obtain an intern position here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12858/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 it is a matter for the HSE to assess, on an annual basis, the number of intern training posts required by the health service. My Department is 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. The recruitment process for interns is a national process governed by the Health Service Executive, National Recruitment Service. All medical students from the six medical schools in Ireland are entitled to apply for an intern post. In managing the recruitment process the HSE is bound by European Community Preference rules whereby preference must be given to EU nationals over non-EU nationals. It should also be noted that 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 medical schools make it clear in their enrolment documentation for non-EU medical students that there is no guarantee of an intern post in Ireland upon completion of the basic medical degree. The priority of the HSE and my Department is to ensure that, at a minimum, all EU graduates from Irish schools have the ability to undertake an internship once they meet the qualifications for same. This is with a view to securing the State's investment in their medical education and to enable them achieve the status of a fully registered medical practitioner. 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. The HSE remain confident that all EU graduates from the six medical schools in Ireland who have applied for an intern post and who meet the eligibility and qualifications for same will be allocated a post within the public health service as of July 2013.