Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your tremendous response to my last two blogs on training in Ireland. The blog statistics boomed to a whole new level receiving more than 7000 views in the past 2 weeks! Everyone appreciated the guidance articles via comments and messages. I also received more than 50 messages on Facebook Messenger asking for personal guidance and I tried my best to answer those. However, I felt that there was a common theme to some questions so I have compiled those questions and their answers here so that others can be helped too.

P.S. I am digressing from my pre-fixed schedule of the blogs to address the most commonly asked questions first.

The main topics discussed are:

  • To apply for Ireland or not
  • IMC registration
  • First job in Ireland
  • BST
  • MRCP UK

To apply for Ireland or not?

Many people have asked me this question. My answer is that it depends on your circumstances and your motive for coming here. If you’re an undergraduate, then I would suggest to apply for UK, USA and other countries first because they offer structured training after passing their exams. You will have a planned future after doing the initial hard work with the exams.

For a fresh graduate, having done house job in Pakistan, all you need is an OET/IELTs and IMC registration to get a job here. At this stage, you can get a training or non-training job in Pakistan while waiting for IMC registration because that can take 6 – 10 months. Or you can opt for the exams for the other countries. This is completely your choice.

If you’re in FCPS training in Pakistan, you can apply in Ireland through the CPSP pathway. The eligible specialties change every year so you will have to keep checking the CPSP website for that. Details are mentioned here:

Training routes in Ireland

Pros of Irish Pathway:

  • No entrance exams required
  • Very well-paid jobs (especially compared to Pakistan)
  • International exposure in hospitals which can pave the way for training in UK

Cons of Irish Pathway:

  • IMC – Irish Medical Council registration can take quite long
  • Difficult to get training here if you are non-EU national

IMC registration

What is PRES – Pre-Registration Exam?

These are the entrance exams required to get IMC registration (if you don’t have PRES exemption which will be explained below). PRES Level 2 consists of MCQ type questions and PRES Level 3 comprises of an objective structured clinical examination. In some instances, PRES 2 can be exempted if you have passed an alternative exam like PLAB 1 – Professional and linguistic assessment board; USMLE Step 1 and 2 – United states medical licensing exam, MCCEE – Medical council of Canada evaluating exam or AMC – Australian Medical Council within the past 2 years of making the IMC application.

For more details about PRES 2: https://www.medicalcouncil.ie/information-for-doctors/examinations-/pre-registration-examination-system-pres-level-2.html

For more details about PRES 3: https://www.medicalcouncil.ie/information-for-doctors/examinations-/pre-registration-examination-system-pres-level-3.html

What is PRES exemption?

There are some situations which make you exempt from PRES and you can directly apply for IMC registration after fulfilling the other criteria like proof of English language competency.

  • Graduate of an EU medical school
  • Have completed an internship in the following countries:
    • Pakistan: internship commenced after 31st December 2008
    • Australia
    • New Zealand
    • South Africa: internship commenced from 1st July 2006
    • Sudan
    • Malaysia

There is also another category for PRES exemption in which holders of higher qualification are included. For details, check the link below.

For more details about PRES exemption: https://www.medicalcouncil.ie/registration/registration-rules-and-exemptions/registration-rules-and-exemptions.html

How long will the IMC Registration process take?

If you have PRES exemption then firstly, it depends on how long your respective medical council body (e.g. PMC for Pakistan) will take in issuing the required documents and secondly, due to COVID 19, IMC working has also slowed down. Approximately, it can take 6 -10 months for the entire process.

What is the registration fee?

560 euros is the fee for IMC registration in the General Division.

What is the process?

I will be writing a detailed blog on this topic next week. However, the main steps are:

  • House job experience certificate from PMC (or equivalent internship certificate for the other countries mentioned above having PRES exemption)
  • OET/IELTs or other proof of English language competency
  • EPIC verification of passport, medical school degree and house job
  • Make online application for IMC registration
  • Posting the documents to IMC (like the notarised copy of Passport etc)
  • Wait for email from IMC asking for good standing certificate
  • Apply for good standing certificate to be sent from your medical council body (e.g. PMC for Pakistan) directly to IMC. Please keep in mind that it is valid for only 3 months so don’t apply for it too far in advance.
  • Email from IMC asking for payment.
  • Make the payment.
  • IMC registration DONE 😊

What is the internship pattern acceptable for IMC?

The internship must comprise a minimum of twelve months of which at least 3 months each in General Medicine and General Surgery. The remaining rotations must be in allied medicine or allied surgery consisting of not less than two months and not more than four months in the following specialties:

  • Emergency medicine
  • General Practice
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Paediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Anaesthesia
  • Radiology

This list is not exhaustive and other specialties are also accepted. You can contact IMC if you want to confirm whether your rotations will be acceptable or not. Also, sometimes, IMC requires certain names of rotations to approve them. For example, Ophthalmology is not accepted but Ophthalmic surgery is. In this case, you will need to get the internship certificate rectified by your hospital first and then request PMC to issue a new experience certificate with the correct names of rotations.

For more details: https://www.medicalcouncil.ie/education/career-stage-intern/quality-assurance/approved-guidelines-on-medical-education-and-training-for-interns.pdf

For contact details: https://www.medicalcouncil.ie/contact-details/

For Pakistan, what to do if house job before January 2009?

Take the PRES route, as described above.

For other countries whose internship is not accepted by IMC. What to do?

Take the PRES route, as described above.

First Job in Ireland

How to do first job hunt in Ireland? How long it will take?           

I will be writing a detailed blog on this topic as well. People generally ask, is it easy to get a job in Ireland. My answer: nothing good is easy in life. You have to work hard for it.

The duration to get a first job varies for everyone. I got my first job acceptance within a week of getting my IMC registration but there are others, for whom it has taken longer.

How to increase job prospects?

This will be explained in detail in my upcoming blog but the salient features are:

  • Clinical experience
  • Foreign exams
  • Research
  • Teaching experience
  • Prepare well for the interview

How is the work experience in Ireland?

Salary for SHO or Registrar: approximately 40 – 60 000 euros per year depending upon your previous clinical experience.

Working hours: Minimum 39 hours per week in addition to the calls.

Call duration: Never more than 12 consecutive hours in the hospital where I’m currently working in the department of Medicine. However, I have been informed that the call duration can differ in different hospitals and the respective departments where it can vary from 12 – 30 hours.

How often are the calls? Depends on the individual rota of the hospital

Overtime pay: Yes it is given for calls and duties on weekends/public holidays.

Annual leave duration: 16 calendar days leave is given per 6-month period

Duration of contracts: 6 months for SHO and 1 year for Registrar

Type of visa: Stamp 1 visa with work permit is given

Sponsoring family: See link below

Details about NCHD contracts by HSE: https://www.hse.ie/eng/staff/resources/hr-circulars/hrcirc01720172.pdf

Details about visa: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/inis/pages/registration-stamps#stamp1

Details about sponsoring family: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Family%20Reunification%20Policy%20Document.pdf/Files/Family%20Reunification%20Policy%20Document.pdf

BST – Basic specialty training Ireland

What is the process?

Read this blog: https://magicwithmedicine.wordpress.com/2021/06/20/ireland-basic-specialty-training-application-process/

How to get appraisal forms?

Check here: https://www.rcpi.ie/training/basic-specialist-training-about/about/

Which forms of research are acceptable?

Publication, poster or paper presentation in a scientific conference.

What is decile/centile?

It is an educational performance measure in which your medical school performance is calculated in deciles for which 34-43 points are available. If you are in the first decile (the top 10% of your class), you will receive a score of 43, if you are in the second decile, your score will be 42; the third decile 41 and so on. Students in the tenth decile will receive 34 points.

This evaluation system is prevalent in EU and some institutions in Pakistan as well.

How to get the alternate-to-centile-decile letter from university?

Most medical institutions in Pakistan don’t have the decile/centile evaluation system. In this case, you will have to request your university administration to issue a letter stating this and also mention the prevalent evaluation system e.g. percentage or division along with your percentage or division.

What is evidence of trainee specialist division?

An email from IMC stating that you are eligible for this division.

What are medical school transcripts?

Your institution will have a template for your mark sheets appropriate for applying abroad. These are the transcripts.

What is Stamp 4 EU FAM visa?

This is for spouse of Irish nationals.

When to apply for BST?

Usually in Oct – Nov of each year.

Do you have a choice of specialty?

Yes, you decide which specialty you want to apply for.

Do you have a choice of hospital?

You can give your preferences of hospitals but it ultimately depends on your merit and vacancies in the hospitals.

MRCP UK

My notes for MRCP UK Part 1 prep

I am compiling them and will upload them soon.

My notes for MRCP UK Part 2 prep

I am compiling them and will upload them soon.

These are just some of the questions I received. There were many others and I will try to address them at some later stage too.

I hope this helps everyone.

Keep the appreciation coming. It is motivating me to write more!

Once again, thanks so much for all the kind words.

Published by Farkhanda

A YLCian who's become an active citizen...!

8 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions

  1. You are doing a wonderful job! Please write a blog on Financial conditions in Ireland regarding Take-home salary and give a realistic idea of one earn and save easily. Thanks a bunch again. There is no website to get this much detailed and new information. Kudos!

  2. Salam ma’am,
    I humbly request you to kindly upload sample/format/ template of all the documents to be produced by the college or working hospital for the BST application like Verification of Ranking, LORS, Teaching & Training, Leadership & Management, Research & Publications, Audits & QIPS etc.
    Thanking you in Anticipation.
    Kind Regards

  3. I was so demotivated because of misinformation regarding IMC. After your blog, I realized it’s all about persistence. Your blog is the best one I have ever come across regarding IMC. Thank you so much.

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