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Specialties could face shortages in staffing — IMC report

09 Aug 2013

Photo by Garo/Phanie / Rex Features

By Lloyd Mudiwa.

There were no new specialists under the age of 40 years old in at least six medical specialties in 2012, which was usually a precursor for manpower shortages in specialties in the medium term.

There were no new specialists aged less than 40 in the specialties of Chemical Pathology; Immunology (clinical and laboratory); Paediatric Cardiology; Paediatric Surgery; Pharmaceutical Medicine; and Public Health Medicine, and the total number of new specialists in all these areas was less than five, according to the Medical Council’s first ever medical workforce report published last week.

Overall, more than 60 per cent of new entrants to the Specialist Division of the Register were under 40.

“Specialties with a low proportion of younger doctors entering may face shortages in the medium term, as specialists retire or leave the Register [of Medical Practitioners] for other reasons,” stated the report.

In some of the specialty areas that have high proportions of doctors under 40 (Dermatology; Infectious Diseases; Neurosurgery; Ophthalmic Surgery; Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery; and Psychiatry of Learning Disability), all the new specialists were under 40.

Other specialties with a high proportion of younger doctors entering were Geriatric Medicine (90.9 per cent); Respiratory Medicine (83.3 per cent); Emergency Medicine (77.8 per cent); Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus (75 per cent); Palliative Medicine (75 per cent); Rheumatology (75 per cent); and Sports and Exercise Medicine (75 per cent).

Since 2008, there has been a significant increase of over 25 per cent in the number of doctors registered in the Specialist Division. In 2012, 691 doctors were recognised as specialists for the first time, 22.3 per cent of them were new entrants to the Register, while 77.7 per cent transferred registration from another Division to the Specialist Division.

9 August 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times