The Department of Health has announced the expansion of training places and the Non-EU GP Training Programme.
Under the expanded programmes, the number of GP training places will increase from 258 in the 2022/23 training to 350 in 2024, a 35% increase.
The total number of trainees undertaking the four-year programme will increase from the current 932 to 1,300 in 2026, a 45% increase.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he is “committed to increase our medical workforce”, having negotiated with the Irish College of General Practioneers earlier this year.
“We must plan for the future,” he said. “This is a hugely positive step as it offers more training places to doctors who want to specialise as General Practitioners and is very good news for patients.”
The Government will also expand the capacity for non-EU GP training schemes from 50 to 250 by the end of 2024. The Non-EU GP Training Programme aims to identify, support and integrate a cohort of non-EU GPs into the rural Irish workforce.
“These are highly experienced and skilled GPs from around the world, who take part in a two-year programme combining frontline GP work with mentoring and training at designated practices,” Mr Donnelly said.
“[The expanasion] will help us to strengthen our primary care services and increase our vital General Practice workforce now and into the future.”
HSE Chief Executive Bernard Gloster said the “rapid expansion” of GP training places is a welcome development.
“[It] is the single biggest improvement for the future resourcing of one of the most vital components of health services for the people,” he said.
“We will take every opportunity to ensure the growth of general practice across the country.”