Dáil Éireann - Volume 305 - 06 April, 1978

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Medical Students.

32. Dr. O'Connell asked the Minister for Health when he proposes to [237] have a meeting with the deans of the medical schools to discuss the future intake of medical students.

Mr. Haughey: I share the concern which has been expressed about the numbers of doctors graduating from our medical schools each year.

A number of authorities have drawn attention to the problem. All are agreed that the number of Irish doctors graduating from our medical schools greatly exceeds our home needs even when allowance is made for the improvements needed in staffing levels in the different areas.

Most foreign countries to which our doctors have emigrated in the past, such as the USA and Canada, or to which they might be attracted to emigrate in the future, such as other member states of the EEC, have problems of their own in this regard. They would not welcome an influx of doctors from other countries, including this country.

The latest organisation to voice its concern about this matter is the Council for Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education. In its second report, published last December, the council recommended that immediate action should be taken to give to some body or bodies overall responsibility for the examination of the different aspects of medical manpower in this country.

While I have to have regard to all these considerations, my colleague, the Minister for Education, has primary responsibility for our medical schools. I shall take the matter up with him to examine the best way in which the problem should be tackled.