Medical Council News


Medical Council Publishes 2015 Annual Report and the Medical Workforce Intelligence Report

Medical Council Publishes 2015 Annual Report and the Medical Workforce Intelligence Report

Doctor numbers at highest level ever

The Medical Council today (25th August 2015) published its annual report for 2015 along with the fourth Medical Workforce Intelligence Report.

The annual report outlines the work of the Medical Council in areas such as registration, medical education and training, and the handling of complaints about doctors. The Medical Workforce Intelligence Report provides a detailed overview of doctors’ practice in Ireland, including the exit rates of doctors, the density of doctors in Ireland by county data and the globalisation of the workforce.

This year’s annual report shows there were 20,473 doctors registered with the Medical Council at the end of 2015, which is the highest ever number of doctors registered with the Medical Council.

During the year, approximately 2,600 doctors registered with the Medical Council for the first time, while some 1,200 exited the register.

Further findings from the reports also include: 

  • 73% of Irish graduates, aged less than 35 years, who retained registration in the Specialist Division were female;
  • 62% of graduates from Irish medical schools, in the 25-34 age group, were female
  • 51 doctors were supported by the Medical Council’s Health Committee throughout 2015 to continue in practice during illness;
  • 97 anatomy donations were made to medical schools in Ireland throughout the year;
  • The Council received 369 complaints about doctors in 2015. Complaints in relation to communication were up by 65%;
  • Exit rates of doctors have increased slightly on last year - from 5.6% in 2014 to 6.4% in 2015;
  • The number of specialists on the register in 2015 increased by almost 7%;
  • Reliance on international medical graduates is among the highest in the OECD with almost 38% of the workforce an international medical graduate;
  • Galway, Westmeath and Waterford had the highest density of GPs per 100,000 of the population with Meath, Kilkenny and Leitrim having the lowest;

Speaking at the report’s publication, Medical Council President, Professor Freddie Wood said: “The information detailed within the Medical Workforce Intelligence report, and the three previous years’ reports enables us to share vital data on the make-up of the medical workforce to those who are instrumental in policy-making and planning, with the fundamental aim of ensuring safe, accessible and quality care to members of the public. It is great to see that the number of specialists on the register has increased significantly this year as we are all too aware of the doctor shortages we have experienced in recent months and years and with this valuable data we have the power to share workforce intelligence with our stakeholders involved in healthcare planning in order to address these issues and deficiencies that have hindered our health system for too long”

He continued: “The Medical Workforce Intelligence Report also complements the Your Training Counts Report in that YTC collects data on trainees’ long-term career intentions in terms of specialty choices and the Medical Workforce Intelligence Report provides detailed intelligence on the proportions of doctors aged 55 and over by specialty which enables planners and junior doctors to forecast where vacancies will soon arise and in my opinion this is highly valuable.”  

Medical Council CEO, Mr Bill Prasifka said: “Although it is of course very positive that there are the highest number of doctors on the register ever it must be noted that, the significance of other factors cannot be underestimated. The purpose of sharing this report is to enhance the capacity and capability to effectively plan, develop and maintain a strong and sustainable medical workforce. We need motivated healthcare teams in the right place at the right time as well as strategic policy frameworks which support and foster the patient-doctor relationship.

He continued: “I found it particularly interesting that although males continue to dominate the medical profession as a whole, since we began collating this data, there have been more Irish female graduates entering the medical profession than their male counterparts. The majority of those on the register between the ages of 30 – 44 are female; however from 44 years and on the number of females on the register begins to decrease. Data from our Your Training Counts report also found that 40% of female trainees - or tomorrow’s specialists - want to work less than full-time and this definitely poses some questions for the health sector and all of those involved in the future planning of Ireland’s healthcare service.”