Royal College of Physicians of Ireland wins major research award to investigate high levels of doctor emigration

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Understanding why doctors are choosing to emigrate

The Doctor Retention and Motivation project will seek to understand why significant numbers of doctors are choosing to emigrate and to identify solutions to help retain them.

Dr Niamh Humphries, Reader in Health Systems Research at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) has been awarded an Early Investigator Award that will examine a wide range of factors influencing doctor emigration. The Hospital Doctor Retention and Motivation project will begin in December 2017. This four-year investigation will examine the working conditions for Irish-trained doctors in the Australian health services, which is a popular location for our doctors. It will also consider the Irish health system and the factors influencing doctor emigration. It will identify potential solutions to help to retain and make it more attractive for doctors to return to the Irish health system in the future.

Professor Mary Horgan, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland welcomed the award.

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland is pleased to be leading this research to help us to understand the exodus and provide solutions to ensure that your graduates stay in our health service or return with new ideas and skills. The retention of doctors is one of my priorities as President. We are the largest postgraduate medical training college in Ireland and, while access to our world class medical training programmes are heavily over-subscribed every year, we need to take action to ensure there are attractive career opportunities for these specialists to work in Ireland. This project is an important first step in addressing this problem and I congratulate Dr Niamh Humphries on winning the Early Investigator Award and look forward to her findings.

Professor Mary Horgan

President, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

Shifting the focus from emigration to retention

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) is home to six of Ireland’s 13 postgraduate specialist training bodies and includes the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, Faculty of Paediatrics, Faculty of Pathology, Faculty of Public Health Medicine, the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Irish Committee on Higher Medical Training.

RCPI also has two joint faculties - the Joint Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine of Ireland in association with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the College of Anaesthetists of Ireland and the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine of RCPI and RCSI.

Dr Humphries says that project will help to shift the focus from doctor emigration to retention.

This research will seek to find out why our highly-trained hospital doctors are emigrating and how best to motivate them to either stay in Ireland or return to practice medicine in Ireland. It will focus on the hospital workplace and consider the demands on doctors in these settings and the resources available to support their work and careers. The project will contribute to our understanding of doctor retention, workplace morale, culture and motivation, and aims to enhance and support national policy and practice on doctor retention.

Dr Niamh Humphries

Reader in Health Systems Research

Health Research Board recognises importance of addressing the problem

Professor Richard Costello, Director of Research at RCPI said:

“The Health Research Board has recognised the importance of addressing the problem of doctor retention by supporting Dr Humphries, who is an exceptionally talented health services researcher, to undertake this important piece of work.”

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland trains, educates and continuously develops doctors for current and future world health needs.

Yvonne McCahill

Press Officer, Communications Department

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