Exodus of GPs will add to shortage of doctors
Nearly one-in-five recently graduated GPs has already emigrated, and significant numbers who are currently in training are also considering leaving for abroad, according to a new survey.
The exodus will further worsen the shortage of GPs at a time when the health service is hoping to expand the services they provide to relieve hospital overcrowding.
As many as one-third of GPs in training are looking at leaving for abroad, the survey by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) showed.
Financial prospects and quality of life are among their top reasons for not staying at home.
Canada and Australia are popular destinations for emigrating Irish GPs.
Dr Gerry Mansfield, lead author of the survey, said: "A comprehensive plan to reverse this emigration trend must include a commitment to a well-resourced model of general practice in Ireland."
The ICGP pointed to the cuts in State fees to GPs imposed during the recession, which have not been restored.
They are affecting the current, and future, generation of GPs.
Chief executive Fintan Foy added: "A major increase in demand for general practitioners is predicted in the coming years, not alone from an increase in older people with chronic diseases, but in the retirement of existing doctors.
"At present, almost 17pc of GPs in Ireland are aged over 60, and we need to stem the flow of emigration and show graduates that there is a future in general practice here."