Irish medical career tracking study (The MedTrack Study)

Hardly a week goes by without a national media report on the medical staffing crisis in the Irish health services, which is perhaps the biggest current threat to the delivery of quality health services to the population of Ireland. With 6- and 12-monthly staff turnovers, employers are forced to recruit staff from abroad to fill posts and most advertised consultant posts go unfilled. Meanwhile, there are reports of large scale emigration by graduates of Irish medical schools. To address this crisis, policy makers and planners need evidence on doctors career intentions, their specialty choices; and the conditions that will determine their willingness to train and make their careers in Ireland.
This project aims to design and implement the first longitudinal medical career tracking study to report, analyse and track the career choices and decisions of Irish medical graduates. It will include estimates of the losses to the Irish exchequer from training and then losing Irish doctors. The research will start with a survey of students before they graduate from Ireland's six medical schools, followed by in-depth interviews and two annual surveys to provide evidence of career and speciality choices and intentions; and doctors' experiences and the costs to them of postgraduate training. The project will cost undergraduate and postgraduate training; and predict the future losses incurred by the State, if large scale emigration and losses from the medical workforce continue.
The project will contribute much needed evidence for national workforce planning and monitoring; and will test the feasibility of establishing an ongoing longitudinal Irish Medical Careers Tracking Study. The project team has forged strong working relationships with the principle national decision makers in the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive, the Medical Council of Ireland and national training bodies.

Award Date
23 October 2015
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Ruairi Brugha
Host Institution
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Health Research Awards