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Wed, Aug. 20th, 2003, 09:20 am

What's the best way to ease the doctor shortage in this country?

Dempsey to remove medical courses from points system

Education Minister Noel Dempsey has revealed plans to make a range of medical courses available on a post-graduate basis only.

The proposed move would lead to courses like dentistry and medicine being removed from the CAO points system and made available only to people with previous qualifications.

Mr Dempsey said the move was designed to ease pressure on Leaving Cert students hoping to study medical courses.

He also said that he believed many students who achieved high points were pressured into studying medical courses when they have no interest in the subject.

The minister said many of these students never go on to graduate and many others who do graduate do not stay in medicine for long.

Yep, you read that right, he wants to make it harder to become a doctor. Obviously this is fair since we all know doctors are a bunch of money grubbing swine only in it for the fast buck and aren't subject to 72 hour shifts, shitty pay, abuse from patients, abuse from administrators, expensive court cases thanks to our claims culture and basically in one of the most stressful professions on earth, possibly behind astronauts and crash test dummies.

Wed, Aug. 20th, 2003 01:37 am (UTC)

Funnily enough, I would have loved to have become a surgeon at one point in my life, but I didn't, and never would have been able to get the points...I think I may have just found my back door...

Sorry, I know this is very off the point for the point you're trying to make.

Wed, Aug. 20th, 2003 02:04 am (UTC)

It's not a new back door though, there is no silver lining here :)

Wed, Aug. 20th, 2003 02:08 am (UTC)

I suppose...I could have post-grad'd for it anyway...

Don't mind me, I'm still looking for ways to make this degree work, and I had the crazy, stupid idea that this method would mean a quicker doctorate...


Wed, Aug. 20th, 2003 02:34 am (UTC)

As I understand it, instead of doing seven years of medicine, you do 4 years of something relevant (chemistry and biology or something), get your science degree and then do a three year course to turn it into a medicine masters.
So it's not harder to become a doctor - it's the same number of years, but there's more motivation to do so, because you know that if it turns out you hate medicine, you still have a science degree. Who would you rather have as your doctor: someone who chose medicine at 17 because their family didn't want them to 'waste' their high points, or someone who chose it at 21 because they wanted to be a doctor?
I think it rocks. Educational reform! Can you imagine?

Wed, Aug. 20th, 2003 03:16 am (UTC)

Assuming that is the case (and to be honest it sounds more to me like you do your degree and then do your seven years of doctorin'. I base this on the line "The proposed move would lead to courses like dentistry and medicine being removed from the CAO points system and made available only to people with previous qualifications.", which to me says "you can only do the course if you graduate something else".
Now I could be misinterpreting the report, the report could be misinterpreting the tool that made the statement BUT, assuming you're right, would you prefer to be treated by someone who has done seven years of medicine or someone who did three years and a biology degree? There's a very good reason that doctors are trained for seven years in college and then several more in practice.
And if you have to do a four year degree before you do a 7 year medical one? How many people are going to go in for that? Eleven years of college, poverty and debts before several more years training.

Nope, a simple interview process for anyone wanting to enter the course would work much better, they do it for NCAD and a most art colleges, it wouldn't kill them to try and determine the suitability of potential candidates for a course that ends with you holding people's lives in your hands.

The whole thing is either dangerous or discouraging and a fairly feeble attempt by the government to say "here, we love doctors!, look! we're making your lives easier![1]"

As to the courses being packed with EU nationals, you can never have enough doctors and it's not like the people here want to do it for the obvious reasons. I may be wrong, but I would be surprised if any irish people with the points and the willingness are being turned away - only my opinion though, feel free to throw some facts my way.

[1] By leaving you with no one to train.

Wed, Aug. 20th, 2003 03:44 am (UTC)

Facts. Pff. Facts are for other people. Opinion all the way.. :-)

I really honest-to-god don't think anyone's going to make it take 11 years to get a medicine qualification. That wouldn't make sense at all.

Seven years of medicine (and maybe there's someone around who's done medicine who can tell me whether or not this is true) is most likely four years of science background and three years of actual doctoring anyway.

If you don't have to do "filler" subjects (not the right word, but you know what I mean. The equivalent of computer students doing an accountancy module -- useful, but not as relevant as a programming module) for the last three years, then it'll all balance out to the same amount of medical training.

Wed, Aug. 20th, 2003 02:48 am (UTC)

I too think it rocks because afaik the medical courses here are jammed with non-EU students who have identified Ireland as an "easy and cheap" way to do medicine. Maybe, since it's now more difficult, the international demand for course places will be less, meaning more irish will end up doing the course, meaning more irish doctors.... I may be wrong
(Deleted comment)

Thu, Aug. 21st, 2003 02:30 am (UTC)

You know, you're right, and I'm wrong. On a sensible level I know this. There's just some pseudo-socialist "take something out, give something back" mentality lurking in my brain.

I'm fully aware that foreign med student pay exorbitant fees but that benefits the fat-cats who run College of Surgeons (and Trinity etc) and not so much the rest of the nation. On the other hand, I guess they're paying College of Surgeons etc for doing the course, so that's pretty much "payment for service provided".

I'm sure you're right about their being quotas for "fee-paying" students, but unfortunately I suspect human nature is such that somewhere in the process college administrators do the math and notice that non-EU students are more profitable, and therefore I suspect the quotas are skewed

I wholeheartedly agree that Ireland (more than a lot of places) needs as much cultural influence as possible. Yay to the sharing of new cultures.

Also yay to the educating those who can't get an education in their own country.

I guess I'm probably just angry that we can educate but not make the "Doctoring in Ireland" package attractive enough that the Doctors that are educated here actually want to stay.

Didn't mean to cause offence to anyone.