THE heavy reliance on around 4,600 doctors, Irish and foreign, to keep our hospitals running is not changing any time soon.
There are simply not enough senior consultants for round-the-clock cover.
There are 1,600 EU-educated doctors registered in Ireland. They make up 9pc of the country's doctors and accounted for 7pc of complaints which went to full inquiry last year.
More junior doctors from Pakistan and India will arrive within weeks after undergoing various checks, including a test of the clinical skills.
However, many EU-trained doctors come here with no such skill checks.
They are free to work as junior doctors, consultants, GPs or locums for an agency.
Concern has been raised by European medical regulatory bodies who want doctors exempt from the EU freedom-of-movement rule.
However, there is nothing to stop hospitals checking references, employment records or doing their own skills tests before employing a doctor either to the staff or as a locum.