The Medical Council has introduced new registration rules allowing Doctors from outside the European Union to work temporarily in supervised and Medical Council approved positions in Irish Hospitals, for a maximum period of two years. This development, which is intended to address the acute shortage of junior Doctors in the Irish hospital system, has been welcomed as a creative and innovative solution to the staffing crisis.

The HSE recently rolled out a recruitment campaign across Pakistan and India, but the existing registration requirements did not facilitate Doctors from those countries in registering here. The pre-registration exam was pitched at recently qualified Doctors, rather than Doctors who were qualified and specialised some time. The new Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Act 2011 sets out the statutory framework for the new Supervised Division of the Medical Council Register. The existing stringent regulations, aimed at ensuring patient safety, have not been diminished.

The HSE must submit a declaration in respect of each participating Doctor, outlining the nature of the Doctor’s role and duties and the supervisory arrangements which will be in place. The Doctor will also have to complete a Level One assessment process, to verify that their education and qualifications are equivalent to Irish standards, and to confirm that they have not been subject to disciplinary proceedings abroad. The Doctor must also pass a Level Two assessment, which assesses competence in clinical judgment, communications and data interpretation.