Almost 50 doctors have participated in the first phase of a scheme to reverse the “medical brain drain” by bringing experienced medical staff from outside the EU to rural general practices in Ireland.

A first group of more than 20 completed a three-day residential induction organised by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) in Portlaoise in March.

According to the Irish Times, they are working alongside established GPs in towns including Castlebar, Abbeyleix and Wexford while a second group is completing the first phase of a structured familiarisation programme this week.

Dr Velma Harkins, one of the programme leads on the scheme, is confident that about 100 doctors will have been enrolled by the end of this year. “The applications keep rolling in,” she said.

The ICGP scheme, which is supported by the HSE and the Irish Medical Organisation, is part of a wider attempt to address an estimated shortfall of 2,000 GPs in Ireland.


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