At present, internships from six non-EEA countries (Australia, New Zealand, Sudan, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Africa) are deemed equivalent.
Welcoming the change, health minister Stephen Donnelly said that, until now, doctors who trained outside the EEA have been ineligible to apply for specialist training here.
“I appreciate that this has been very frustrating for them as they sought to build their lives and careers here. I am pleased that this barrier has now been removed and I know that this step will be welcomed by all of those in the medical profession,” he said.
Doctors wishing to access specialist training must satisfy the requirements for registration in the trainee specialist division, including having the relevant qualifications and having the appropriate language skills to practise medicine in the State.
In addition, doctors seeking registration must hold a post approved by the Medical Council for specialist training. They are also subject to the normal recruitment practices and relevant employment regulations.
Registration requires non-EEA doctors to have passed the Council’s Pre-registration Examination (PRES), or be exempt from sitting the PRES because they hold a higher qualification.
The department says that the change is being made as it recognised that these doctors, who are already working in large numbers in Ireland, are precluded from applying, despite having suitable skills.