Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI Doctor Emigration Project to Support Medical Workforce Planning

07 May 2014
RCSI has recently begun a Health Research Board-funded research project into the emigration of doctors from Ireland, which will run until December 2016. The Doctor Emigration Project will survey doctors in 2014, conduct follow-up in-depth qualitative interviews later in 2014, and will survey participating doctors again in 2015.

Prof Ruairi Brugha

The aim of the study is to ascertain how many of the original cohort emigrated, how many remain and the factors influencing their decision making processes. Research findings will improve our understanding of emigration, retention and the motivations of Ireland's doctors, thereby making a significant contribution to medical workforce planning and the staffing of the Irish health services.

Research findings will be made available to the project collaborators - the HSE's Medical Education and Training Division, the Medical Council of Ireland and the Department of Health - and to interested stakeholders, to inform strategies to improve the retention of doctors in the Irish health system and to attract back those who have left. The first stage of data collection for this project is being facilitated by the Medical Council, which has included questions for the Doctor Emigration Project within its National Trainee Experience Survey, "Your Training Counts", which was launched last week - see

Professor Ruairi Brugha, Head of the RCSI Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine commented "While the growing scale of emigration by Irish trained doctors has been reported in the media over the last 2-3 years, this research study will quantify these trends and identify the factors influencing the decisions to stay in Ireland or to emigrate. The Doctor Emigration Project will conduct follow up interviews and surveys of doctors to gain insights into the factors motivating their decisions. We believe that this information will help policy makers to retain doctors in the Irish health system and attract back those who have left. The success of the research will depend on the willingness of doctors, who have completed the National Trainee Experience Survey, to participate in the follow-up research."

The Medical Council and the RCSI health workforce research group are encouraging as many trainee doctors as possible to complete the National Trainee Experience Survey of NCHD trainees, "Your Training Counts", and to give their consent at the end of that survey to participate in the Doctor Emigration Project.You can take part in the Doctor Emigration Project by completing this survey.
Founded in 1784, RCSI's mission is to develop healthcare leaders who make a difference worldwide. RCSI is a not-for-profit health sciences organisation which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland.