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Top doctors quit here for Saudi riches

Top medical consultants are being poached from the HSE by hospitals in the Middle East offering tax-free salaries and benefits.

They spend years training here, subsidised by the taxpayer but the lure of life in Dubai and Saudi Arabia is too tempting.

Doctors who have already completed their specialisation in Ireland and are on the Irish Medical Council special registration are being head-hunted by hospitals in Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

One recruitment agency based in Ireland, TTM, is currently offering 14 positions in the Middle East to Irish radiologists, obstetricians, anaesthetists, surgeons and other specialist consultants.

These doctors, who have suffered pay cuts and tax hikes over the past few years, are being offered a range of perks to start a new life in a foreign country.

A top consultant taking on the role of chairman of a department can expect benefits including annual merit increase, end- of-service award, annual ticket, free accommodation and children's education allowance, all on top of a tax-free salary.


Many are also tempted by the prospect of better technologies and opportunities.

Recruitment consultant Siju Paul explained: "Definitely there are a good few Irish doctors who would love to go to the Middle East.

"I spoke to a doctor whose partner was working in King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh. She worked there for three years and she said they have a better healthcare system than Ireland.

"I didn't believe it but I recruited a doctor last month and he worked in Ireland as a consultant for 18 years and when he went there he told me the equipment and systems are better than Ireland in Saudi Arabia."

The majority of doctors being recruited in Ireland are non-nationals who have done their post-grad and specialisations here.

"Many came here in hope of better employment prospects during the boom but now find they are struggling to pay bills."

One doctor, who wished to remain anonymous, told how he is being forced to move because he is in debt and cannot afford to buy even the weekly basics for his family.