What is a GP?
As per google, a general practitioner (GP) is a “doctor based in the community who treats patients with minor or chronic illnesses and refers those with serious conditions to a hospital.”
I explained this for my Pakistani counterparts who often wonder what a GP is because there is no such concept in our society back home. However, GPs are an integral part of an Irish community. They are the first point of contact for the general public who can’t get an appointment with a specialist until referred by a GP. Also, from the point of view of a doctor, life as a GP offers a very good work-life balance due to less duty hours and no work on weekends and public holidays. Yet, it still pays off handsomely so it’s a win-win situation.
Structure of GP training
It consists of a 4 – year programme with the first 2 years of basic specialty training as a senior house officer in a hospital and the last 2 years of higher specialty training as a GP registrar in a GP practice. At the end of the training, you get the MICGP (membership of Irish College of General Practitioners) qualification and are eligible for specialist registration in the division of general practice with the Irish Medical Council. In simple words, you can work as a full-fledged GP in Ireland as well as other EU countries, including the UK.
Only two things are required.
- Eligibility for the trainee specialist register
Good news is that, following amendments to the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 in 2020, all doctors who are eligible for IMC registration in the General Division are now also eligible for the trainee specialist register. So, all you need is an email from IMC stating the above.
For details about other categories (like an EU graduate), refer to this: https://www.icgp.ie/go/become_a_gp/frequently_asked_questions/gp_trainee_recruitment/CE6063C8-05D6-401E-B16FC53C4535B7F0.html
2. English language competency
Unless you’ve completed the medical degree in English from some selected countries (mentioned here: https://www.icgp.ie/go/become_a_gp/frequently_asked_questions/gp_trainee_recruitment/81AE1173-916B-41D2-933541642068E48F.html), you are required to take either IELTs or OET.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic test certificate with an overall band score of 7.0 and minimum score of 6.5 in each of the four domains – reading, writing, listening and speaking. It must be taken in the previous 2 years at the time of application.
Occupational English Test (OET) certificate with an overall minimum grade of B and a minimum grade of B in listening, reading, writing and speaking. This must also be taken in the previous 2 years at application stage.
Last year, 685 applications were made for 233 training places so there is considerable competition. Moreover, Irish and EU nationals are given preference over IMGs (international medical graduates) for allocations. To cater to the growing demand, the ICGP has been increasing the intake successively which was 208 in 2020; 233 in 2021 and this year, its proposed to be 250+.
Application dates and online form
This year (2021), applications for GP training have opened since 13th October and will close at 5 pm on Wednesday 17th November. The online application form can be accessed here: https://www.icgp.ie/go/become_a_gp/gp_trainee_recruitment. From this year, an application fee of 50 euros has been introduced as well.
Firstly, register on the ICGP website (https://www.icgp.ie/) then consent to the terms & conditions and pay the application fee. After that, mention the personal details and eligibility requirements. The next step is undergraduate medical qualifications and hospital experience with career gaps. There is a section with additional information in which you can explain the reason for career gaps. Then comes post graduate education and research experience. Only fully published research articles are given credit. Lastly, there is a segment on personal development in which you can write a paragraph (max 100 words) elucidating the salient features which make you an exceptional candidate like teaching experience, leadership, communication skills, team work, social welfare contribution etc.
The supporting documents are uploaded in each section concurrently. They include:
- Passport or National identity card
- Documents for eligibility
- Undergraduate medical qualification
- Postgraduate education
- 2 BST reference forms (present here: https://www.icgp.ie/go/become_a_gp/frequently_asked_questions/gp_trainee_recruitment/F1797780-89C0-4783-8DD6F6DF7AA3B4AC.html)
All attachments must be PDF, PNG or JPEG files and maximum upload size is 3 MB.
Instructions for completing the application form: https://www.icgp.ie/speck/properties/asset/asset.cfm?type=Document&id=3FA0B585-A3A0-4C22-9CF9B2C91B486B71&property=document&filename=Instruction_for_completing_the_2022_application_form.pdf&revision=tip&mimetype=application%2Fpdf&app=icgp&disposition=inline
The applicants are assessed in a two-stage process: shortlisting on the basis of information provided in the application form and for those shortlisted, a structured interview. (I will explain the interview process in a separate blog). Shortlisting and interview scores are combined to provide an overall national rank for each successful applicant. This rank, when taken with the applicant’s scheme preferences, determines the training scheme in which a place will be offered.
Marks are awarded for full completion of the application, with appropriate supporting documentation before the closing date and time. If you are a fresh graduate or have graduated within the past 3 years then you automatically qualify for shortlisting.
However, if you are an older graduate then you need to provide evidence of career progression. This evidence includes:
- Professional examinations (fellowship and membership) passed
- Research activity (PhD, peer-reviewed papers)
- Advancement to specialist posts (i.e., SpR, PhD)
The marks awarded will be adjusted for the length of career, so that a higher level of achievement will be required of those with longer careers. Some allowance will be made for career gaps.
Queries regarding the GP trainee recruitment process should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to know more about the GP training then refer to these links:
- The General Practice Prospectus and GP trainee recruitment information https://www.icgp.ie/go/become_a_gp/gp_trainee_recruitment
- Key dates and events https://www.icgp.ie/go/become_a_gp/gp_trainee_recruitment/events
I hope, all this information helps you with your application process. Feel free to contact me with any queries on my facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MagicBlogger/
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