Frequently asked questions about registering as a doctor in Ireland

Frequently Asked Questions


PART 1: RECRUITMENT AND REGISTRATION

Below you will find some of the answers to the questions you probably have in your head! We are sure that there will be more queries along the way, please get in touch with us and we will be happy to discuss things further with you.

Q: I would like to work as a locum doctor in Ireland, where do I start?

A: Thinking of working as a doctor in Ireland? To start with, there are two things to keep in mind:

As you will need to be registered with the Irish Medical Council in order to practice medicine here, it is important to get familiar with the process, the timeframe, cost etc. so you are well informed and so you can plan accordingly. We are more than happy to provide you advice on the process of registration and assist wherever possible.

Do get in touch with us and tell us if you are a hospital doctor or a GP doctor, we will ask you to fill out a CV template and provide contact details for your referees. Once we know more about you, your background, plans and expectations, we will then work towards securing you the best possible deal!

If you are seeking GP work, contact Aga at info@locumotion.com. If it is hospital work you are interested in, contact Rosanna at hospitalteam@locumotion.com and we will be here for you throughout the process of organising the move.

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Q: What are the steps to register with Locumotion?

A: Registration with Locumotion couldn't be easier. Simply visit the Locumotion website, or contact us directly by phone or email. We will then send you a CV template and a registration form to fill out, and send you information specific to the type of medical work you are seeking.

We offer six to twelve month hospital placements in hospitals all over Ireland; we require 2 years post internship clinical experience in order to work in a hospital setting in Ireland through Locumotion. To work as a GP locum, it would be best if you had your post-graduate GP training finished. However, if you do not have it yet, you can still work with us as long as you have at least four years of post-internship clinical experience, of which at least two years would be full time GP work.

The process of registration might take approximately a month, providing smooth communication between Locumotion, you and your referees.

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Q: What kind of placements does Locumotion offer?

A: Locumotion Ireland looks after recruiting doctors for both hospital and GP settings.

We offer 6-12 month hospital placements for Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs) all over Ireland, in approximately 30 locations.

NCHDs are broken into two categories: Senior House Officers (SHOs) and Registrars. SHOs would typically work under the supervision of a Registrar or Consultant. Registrars have more responsibility and autonomy in the department, and would frequently have at least completed the initial stages of their specialist training. The rotations for SHOs and Registrars happen in January and July each year. You will be expected to have at least two years of post-internship clinical experience in order to apply for SHO roles. A minimum of 4-5 years of experience would be expected for a Registrar.

We recruit for consultants for both long term and short term placements. We offer competitive salary and benefits package. Do get in touch with us to find out more!

On the GP side, the vast majority of our GP placements are short term, as we specialise in locum work. From time to time, we have longer placements to fill, including some permanent positions within our internal practices. We have plenty of placements available throughout the country and we can put together packages for you that consist of daytime GP surgery work, Out-of-hours services, Irish Prison Service work and VHI SwiftCare Clinics. Once successful in our screening process, we will assign you a Placement Coordinator, who will be looking after your work schedule and assist you with any administrative issues.

As a locum doctor you have an advantage of choosing where and when you will work, pick the positions that suit you most and broaden your experience by working in various settings. If you are in Ireland briefly, this is a great way to see some great places, while still earning (competitive rates!) and practicing medicine.

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Q: What are out of hours services?

A: Also known as co-op, they usually operate from a central venue, such as a local health centre or public hospital, with a car and driver provided. Patients can attend at the venue or home visits may be required. This isn't an A&E service, but a General Practice out of hour's service.

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Q: What are VHI SwiftCare Clinics?

A: These urgent care clinics are located in Dublin (Balally and Swords) and Cork; the clinics provide walk in medical care for minor illnesses and injuries with the aim of treating patients within an hour. Patients do not have to make an appointment. The clinics are open from 8am until 10pm seven days a week. In order to work within these clinics, aside from GP experience, A&E experience and recent ACLS, you will need to have experience in Orthopaedics, x-ray readings, Paediatrics, suturing and wound care.

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Q: What relocation packages do you offer?

A: The benefits package available for you will depend on the role you are looking to take on. In all cases our dedicated team will provide you all information and support you will need when moving to a new country. This includes assistance with paperwork, orientation and accommodation on arrival, advice on rental of accommodation, cars, schooling etc., and more. Financial benefits vary, so please talk to us to find out what potential earnings there are here for you!

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Q: Does using a medical recruitment agency cost anything?

A: Locumotion Ireland does not charge anything for registration and there are no deductions made by us from your salary. We are here to facilitate between our doctors and our customers and we have a pretty good record doing just that! We have an extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of the market, and our professional consultants are prepared to provide you with all the assistance necessary.

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Q: What are the salaries like?

A: Working as a GP doctor you have a potential of earning approx. €2000 per week in daytime surgeries, and near to €3500 per week when working in out of hours setting. The rate per hour in the out of hours centres is between €60.00 and €70.00 some co-ops also provide some accommodation allowance when working overnight.

Hospital doctors are paid based on a salary scale, which varies for each grade of doctor. Senior House Officers (SHOs) can expect €38,839 - €54,746, Registrars can expect €50,578 - €60,305, whereas consultants can expect approximately €120,000+. Overtime is paid additionally, and can result in an additional 30% for SHOs and Registrars.

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Q: How does the recruitment process work?

A: When registering with Locumotion, you will go through the screening process: all doctors working through Locumotion are carefully vetted and interviewed by one of our medical directors, and once approved for placement are handed over to a placement co-ordinator who will facilitate work for them.

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Q: Do I need to provide references prior to being offered a position?

A: In order to pass Locumotion's internal screening process, we must have at least 2-3 references on file for you. We ask that you provide us the contact details for a number of referees that we can contact early in our screening process. It may also speed up the process to provide any recent written references that you have from clinical supervisors or superiors, your references should be dated within the last two years, must be stamped / signed and provided on headed paper.

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Q: Can I find a job without using a medical recruitment agency?

A: It is entirely possible to find a job without using medical recruitment agencies. However, the advantage of using an agency is that you can be sure of ready access to information that may affect your application or decision, and guidance on any concerns. Given Locumotion does not charge you for assisting you with job search, why not to increase your chances by registering?

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Q: Does registering with more than one medical recruitment agency improve my chances?

A: It can be very tempting to find every agency that recruits for a particular area, and sign up with all of them. While shopping around is a good idea before engaging with an agency, being selective with who you work with has a couple of major advantages. In particular, you retain greater input and control into where your CV is being sent, and developing a strong relationship and partnership with people you are happy to work with will give you a better experience overall.

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Q: How long does the Irish Medical Council registration take?

A: Any doctor who would like to practice medicine in Ireland is required by law to be registered with the Irish Medical Council (IMC).

If you are an EU-qualified doctor, it could take 6 - 10 weeks from the time of submitting the application to obtain the registration with the Irish Medical Council. In case of non-EU qualified doctors, it is wise to plan some months ahead as the registration can take 6 - 9 months, and if you are required to sit PRES exams, it will go beyond that. The Irish Medical Council encourages doctors to ensure only complete applications are submitted as any errors and / or missing paperwork can significantly delay the procedures.

You can find out all the required information on the IMC website: www.medicalcouncil.ie

The website includes information on the application process, Guide to Registration, PRES exams Handbook, fees and more.

If the information provided on the website does not clarify your situation and you would like to discuss your personal circumstances with the IMC, you can contact the Registration Office by ringing 00353 1 498 3100 or e-mailing registration@mcirl.ie. The phone lines are open Monday to Friday between 10 am and 12.30 pm and then 2 pm to 4 pm.

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Q: Am I eligible to work, or will I need to take exams?

A: Eligibility to work depends on successful completion of IMC registration, and having permission granted to work in the state, either through the Atypical Working Scheme,* or through having a contract of employment and a Work Permit. * see page 8/9 for further information.

Depending on where you studied medicine, you may need to sit exams in order to register with the Irish Medical Council.

All EU educated doctors are exempt from sitting the PRES exams.

For non-EU educated doctors seeking General Registration, exemptions to the Pre Registration Exams (PRES) apply to doctors who qualified and carried out their internships in the following non-EU countries:

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  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan (if internship commenced on or after 21st December 2008)
  • South Africa (if internship commenced on or after 1 July 2006)
  • Sudan
  • Malaysia

The IMC specifically does not grant this exemption to doctors with internship from:

  • India
  • Trinidad & Tobago

You can also be exempt from PRES exams if you have been awarded a higher qualification which is listed in the Guide to Registration (published on the IMC website) and have undertaken an internship of at least twelve months which comprised of a minimum of three months in medicine in general and three months in surgery in general OR completed a minimum of three years in an accredited training programme. Applicant should provide a letter confirming satisfactory completion of a three year programme from the body responsible for overseeing the training programme eg a post graduate training body. Only one single training programme will be considered for this purpose.

If you would like to read a bit more of the background information on PRES exemptions, please click here.

** NEW **

From 1st January 2016, the Medical Council will no longer be requesting that new applicants complete the PRES Level 2 examination if that they have completed an alternative exam which the Medical Council has deemed to be an acceptable equivalent.

The Medical Council will consider an alternative exam pass as valid for two years from the date of completion, and will not accept evidence of exams completed outside of this time frame. The below are accepted alternative to PRES Level 2:

  • Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) Part 1
  • United States Medical Licencing Exam (USMLE) Step 1 and 2
  • Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) (must be completed in English)
  • Australian Medical Council MCQ (AMC)

Applicants who provide this evidence when making an application for registration will then be made eligible for the PRES Level 3, and will have two years or three attempts from the date they were declared eligible to complete the Level 3 examination.

For more information please click here

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Q:Will I need to take an English exam?

A: Working as a doctor in Ireland, you will need to speak the English language at a level that allows you, your patients and your colleagues, to communicate effectively and without confusion. When you are an EU citizen, the Irish Medical Council does not require evidence of English language proficiency from you. However, it may be beneficial at times to take the exams and verify at the very start that you have the language skills required to take on the job.

For all non-EU citizens, proof of "effective communication skills" will be required by the IMC if your medical degree and internship training have not been completed through English in a country where English is the language spoken by the vast majority of the population. The IMC does not consider whether or not English is an "official" language in that country, it considers whether or not the vast majority of the population speak English.

To read the IMC's guidelines on English language requirements please click here.

The most common way to meet this requirement is to take IELTS exams.

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Q: I will have to pass English exams for the purpose of the IMC registration. How do I go about it?

A: IELTS exams are the most common way of meeting the IMC requirement of proving "effective communication skills" in English. The IMC requires that the exam results are dated within the last two years and that the overall band score is 7.0, with a minimum score is 6.5 in each module.

There are two versions of the exams: General and Academic. You will need to write the academic version of the test.

The IELTS website has some sample tests online and it provides information on its exams' centres, dates of the exams, registration process, results and more. Please click here

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Q: What documents do I need to provide?

A: Any doctor who would like to practice medicine in Ireland is required by law to be registered with the Irish Medical Council (IMC). There is a set of documents required (often in a very specific format) in order to submit your application and what these are depend greatly on your personal and educational circumstances. There is a checklist attached to application forms that will help you ensure you have attached all documentation that is needed in your case.

For registration with Locumotion all we need to start your registration process is your CV and two clinical references. All references should be recent (dated within the last two years). We will at that stage send you a CV template to fill out, and ask that you complete this with as much detail as you possibly can. Also, we will set up an informal conversation with one of our medical directors for you, to discuss your plans, experience and goals. The medical director can then advise us which placements are most appropriate for you, and it is also a good opportunity for yourself to discuss any questions you may have about the Irish healthcare system. Please get in touch with us for our CV templates and our references guidelines.

Once you successful in the interview for GP locum doctor, we will need to gather the remaining documents required for your file. These will be:

  • Copy of IMC Registration certificate
  • Copy of medical indemnity in Ireland
  • HEP B Clearance, we require proof of completing a 3 injection course of vaccination PLUS a lab report that reflects an anti-Hbs antibody of adequate level to ensure immunity
  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of Original Degree and your post-graduate diploma (if you finished one)
  • Copy of Driver's Licence
  • Police Clearence (dated within the last two years) / Garda Vetting Form (if you lived only in Ireland)
  • BLS or ACLS certificate

The interview/screening process is identical for hospital doctors, but there are a couple of minor differences in the post-interview requirements. Hospital doctors who have been approved for placements will be asked to provide:

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  • Copy of IMC Registration Certificate
  • Hep B, C, HIV Clearance
  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of Original Degree, and any additional qualifications
  • Copy of Driver's Licence
  • Police Clearance (dated within the last two years) / Garda Vetting Form (if you are currently living in Ireland)

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Q: I was registered with the Irish Medical Council once, but I didn't keep my registration up to date. Do I have to start from the very beginning?

A: If your name was removed from the Register after 16th March 2009, you should be able to restore your name simply by submitting relevant application (you will find it online on the IMC website); you will only be required to submit some, and not all, of the documentation normally required for registration.

The fees for restoration differ, depending on whether you withdrew your name voluntarily, or if it was removed from the Register following the non-payment of the fees. To find the list of fees please click here.

If you were registered with the Irish Medical Council in the past, but withdrew your registration before 16th March 2009, you will have to apply as a first-time applicant. This means you will have to re-submit the full set of documents required and use the generic application from. However, the good news in this instance is that, if you are a non-EU educated doctor, the registration should not take as long as first-time applicants; e.g. when the application normally takes 6 months to be assessed, yours could take approx. 3 months.

To find the restoration application form, and further information, please click here

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Q: Can I get into training positions?

A: If your internship is recognised, you may be able to apply for training positions. The competition for these is very high, and the number of places limited, we recommend coming to work in Ireland for a time before applying for training posts. We have seen plenty of doctors secure places on training schemes after coming to work in Ireland as SHOs first. Taking this approach allows you to familiarise with the Irish healthcare system, build connections and seek guidance from your colleagues on making the application. And of course, if the first time you apply you don't get in, this allows you to continue working away while applying the next time around. We will be very happy to assist with SHO posts, however, it is worth noting that you yourself must make any application for training.

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VIEW PART 2: LIVING AND WORKING IN IRELAND