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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.

We are a dead nation

Response to the death of Arshad Sharif

Yet again, we are shocked. The brutal murder of a Pakistani journalist at the hands of Kenyan police has raised many questions. Will these questions ever be answered? I doubt that. And our history supports this doubt.

No value of life:

Growing up in a politically turbulent and foreign – war striven Pakistan, I have seen it all. Terror attacks on school children; people going ‘missing’ mysteriously; popular leaders being killed; journalists getting to their final destination under ‘suspicious’ circumstances; blatant ‘murder’ of masses in the name of ‘law and order’ and you name it. Life becomes invaluable when you are a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

And why not?! When our own so called ‘protectors’ can very conveniently kill us then it’s no wonder that a Pakistani life is not worth much to foreign officials including the police of Kenya

Lack of Truthfulness:

As a teenager, I had grown up in a very politically aware household. A lot of my family members belong to either the legal or political community. I have done door-to-door campaign for elections; participated in protests for the lawyers’ movement; written blogs on my political views and had always followed Pakistani politics even after moving abroad.

However, I became disenchanted with the drama of my country’s politics in the days following the historic ‘regime change’ earlier this year. When the ‘imported’ and ‘corrupt’ government came in power and completely changed its narrative on inflation, I was nothing less than shocked. The same faces who raised hell at an inflation rate of 13% during Khan’s government were now conveniently defending an inflation rate of over 25%! This is when I had an important revelation. Politics is like parliamentary debates. You can defend or oppose an argument by highlighting different points.

Winning a debate doesn’t imply that you were right or wrong. It simply shows that you were clever enough to ‘defend’ your point of view. Political leaders engaged in vicious and vehement arguments on talk shows are just playing their roles. The ‘breaking’ news conferences are a stack of numbers which support their narrative. The ‘power show’ rallies and emotional speeches are only to play with the sentiments of the easily swayed common man. There’s no truthfulness or honesty behind any of this. So why follow such hollow politics, I thought. I stopped reading and following the news. Until today, when I was informed (by my husband) about the murder of the fearless and patriotic investigative journalist, Arshad Sharif.

Over the years:

The reels started playing in front of my eyes. I remembered Benazir Bhutto’s murder in a public rally. Though, I was never a PPP supporter, but her sudden death shocked me like it did millions of people all over the world. We watched her life documentaries. We heard politicians mourning and asking for an ‘investigation.’ We sympathized with her party to the extent that we brought them into power. I remember, how an emotional, illiterate, rural old lady said to me during the election campaign that BB had died for us so how can we not support her legacy?!

And then what happened? We have short memories. We forgot and moved on. To date, her murderer has not been identified!

I remembered the model town attack by Punjab Police against political workers. Over 100 injured and 17 died in front of our eyes on live news broadcast. We followed the political drama glued to our screens. We yelled that it was ‘state terrorism’ and we will investigate the perpetrators.

But what happened next? We forgot and moved on. To date, no action has been taken against the ‘well known’ perpetrators.

I remembered the 2014 APS attack on school children. I remember how we cried as a nation. For days, we kept following the news channels for different versions of the incident. We wrote on social media. We burned candles in solidarity with them. We held TV shows with the survivors. We sang songs in their memory. And we pledged that we’ll stop this insane war on terror which had been imposed on us!

And then what happened next? We forgot and moved on. Terror attacks kept happening on our land; we kept losing precious lives and yet we were the ‘most dangerous’ state on earth. Rightly so. This is what happens when we stoop to polish others’ shoes and bow down to their every command. They use us and discard us.

Lack of freedom and justice:
And what happened last night? In fact, what has been happening in the past few months? Every person who spoke against the ‘enforced regime change’ or the ‘tales of corruption’ of our current immoral government has been ‘taught a lesson.’ Be it torture or false court cases or in this case, blatant targeted killing of Arshad Sharif. This is the extent of freedom of expression in our country.

And what are we doing today? Remembering him for what a thorough gentleman he was. His fellow journalists are reminiscing the times spent with him. And we are hooked to the screens for every ‘breaking news’ regarding the suspicious circumstances about his death. We are pledging that his murder will be investigated and the ‘people’ behind it will be unveiled.

I can predict what will happen next. We will forget and move on. Until the next ‘shocking news’ comes and there will be action replay.

The question of ‘why?’
The question arises why does this injustice not stop? Why is there no value of life in Pakistan? Why do time and tested ‘criminals’ rule us today?

Hadith in this regard:

“When Allah intends goodness for a people, He appoints over them their most tolerant ones; their Ulama decide their disputes, and He bestows wealth to their generous ones. And, when Allah intends ruin for a people, he appoints their foolish to rule them; their ignoramuses to decide their disputes, and He bestows wealth to their misers.” (Musnad Firdaus, Hadith:954)

And why is Allah unhappy with us?

Lack of Morality:

Have we analyzed our own behavior? Where do we stand as a society? We accept bribery as a norm. We earn haraam by not fulfilling our duties when given a ‘government’ post. We ridicule merit when allocating jobs. We pore fawning adoration over our superiors to gain ‘favors.’ We disregard injustice because it’s happening with someone else. We don’t stop wrongdoing because we are minding our own business. We lie as its convenient. We deceive to gain vested interest. We take undue advantage of the weak and poor because they have no strong backing.

Cruelty:

Then there’s another section of moral degradation in our society. We rape and get away with it. Be it the 7-year-old Zainab or the internationally acclaimed Mukhtaran Mai. We torture ‘minor’ home servants and are not brought to justice. We murder brutally and are not held accountable. Be it Noor Mukaddam or Sara Inam.

And it’s not just the women who are unsafe as the Western media would have us believe. The name of a university student, Shahzaib Khan is fresh in our memories as his murderer has recently been acquitted by the highest court in the country!

Lack of rule of law:

We ‘mob kill’ and ‘lynch’ and take the law in our hands because after all, where is ‘rule of law?’ We wait for years over inheritance disputes only for decisions to be issued after our deaths! We make mockery of the system of justice where anyone can ‘buy’ a decision. We incarcerate the ‘fruit stealer’ and the big thieves rule us.

Idolising other cultures:

Our students are paying ‘tribute’ to the Queen whose ancestors ruled brutally over us. Our teenagers are idolising American, British or Indian actors. They walk their talk and imitate their ‘fashion sense.’ Our weddings represent the Indian culture more and more. Our festivals are Halloween and ‘Black-now-blessed Friday.’ Our family gatherings are baby showers, bridal showers and 10-day long lavish wedding festivities. Our estimation of another person’s worth is by their branded clothes and accessories.

Role of media:
How far have we come from our roots? What are our roots? Ask a school student and he doesn’t know. He only knows what the media shows him. The senseless morning shows and TRP based crap dramas. It’s that or the noise of political garble on news channels. Or for the elite ‘mummy daddy’ club, its Netflix series or Hollywood movies.

What is a nation?
A nation is “a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.” But we are not a nation anymore. Our rich and poor have nothing in common. Our rural and urban class have no similarities. Our ethnicities and religious sects divide us.

We are a dead nation:
Even if we argued that we are a nation despite all this then we are a dead nation! We don’t value life. We have no freedom of expression and no justice system. We are morally sapped. We are cruel and selfish. And we have no drive to take our country to excellence and unfortunately, we haven’t even fathomed what sort of place we are leaving for our future generations!

Time to wake up:

It is time for every one of us to wake up. Do right and endorse the right. Don’t do wrong neither support it either tacitly or openly. Get familiar with our religion and culture and extend that knowledge to our children. Play a positive role in the society and when everyone does that then the 140 million tiny drops of water will add to make the ocean. But if we don’t act now then we are doomed. Moral degradation can only reach a next level until it impacts each of us.

As Allah says in the Quran:‘Allah never changes the condition of a people until they strive to change themselves.’ (Surah Ar-Ra’d, 13:11)



BST Interview – Prep guide

This year, many IMGs – international medical graduates – have been shortlisted for BST – Basic specialty training interview in different specialties. I know this because many such candidates have contacted me for interview guidance. Therefore, I decided to write this blog to help everyone.

But, before you read any further, I’d advise you to read the previous posts I’ve written on general interview tips – https://magicwithmedicine.com/2021/07/25/job-interview-tips-for-doctors/

and GP training interview – https://magicwithmedicine.com/2022/01/10/gp-training-interview-what-to-expect-and-how-to-prepare/

 because all job interviews have some common elements.

Having said that, there are 4 main domains of BST interview: introduction, ethics, team work and clinical approach assessment.

Interview marking:

There are a few components that make up the final rank and merit list. They include:

ComponentScore
Undergraduate Academic achievements20
Research and other qualifications10
Professional development5
Clinical Acumen30
Interview performance and communication skills20
Total score85

The undergraduate academic achievements are scored according to the centile/decile letter that you provided in your application. If you provided no letter then you would receive the minimum score i.e. 4. If your university does not have this evaluation system and you provided a letter stating the same then you would be given a score of 6. And if you do have the centile letter then you would be marked in the following way:

Centile scoreMarks
Top 10% (90-100%)20
Next 20 % (70-89%)16
Next 40% (30-69%)12
Next 20% (10-29%)6
Lowest 10% (0-9%)4

For most Pakistanis, the score is usually 6 as most medical universities don’t have centile/decile evaluation system.

For research, credit is given to research publications, poster and paper presentations. For other qualifications, credit is given to post graduate exams. Detailed marking is as follows:

NQAI level 10 qualification (PhD) (relevant to medical practice) – 3 marks
Published International Journal (First Author) – 3 marks
Presented at International peer review mtg – Oral 2 marks|Poster 1 mark
Published in an International Journal (Joint Author) – 2 marks
Published in a National Journal (First Author) – 2 marks
Published a Case Report in a Peer-Reviewed Journal – 1 mark
Presented at a National Meeting – Oral 1 mark|Poster .5 mark
Published in a National Journal (Joint Author) – 1 mark

You should have submitted the DOI or the link to the published article in order to be awarded marks. Also, medical journals where you have been published must be listed in the SCImago Journal & Country Rank portal for your publication to be considered for marking.

For professional development, you are graded for career progression ever since you graduated – which includes post graduate examinations, research, teaching experience, workshops, professional courses etc.

For clinical acumen, you are marked according to your responses in the clinical scenarios. And interview performance and communication skills are obviously assessed during the interview.

My total interview score was 68 and rank was 49/540 and interviewer feedback was that my performance was above average compared to other applicants.

Introduction:

Use the CAMP acronym to prepare this introduction: Clinical, academic, management, personal. See details in my previous post

https://magicwithmedicine.com/2021/07/25/job-interview-tips-for-doctors/

in which I’ve even elaborated the exact wording that can be used.

Prepare a few lines for this introduction as it’s a mandatory question and would set the tone of the interview.

Clinical scenario:

As I applied for BST in medicine so I prepared the topics accordingly. I did the emergency topics from Oxford handbook of medicine and the website: https://wikem.org/wiki/Main_Page

Moreover, I drafted an overview of the management of common diseases in medicine from the website: https://patient.info/patientplus

This question will not be straight forward like tell approach to headache. Rather, it will be a long stem like those MRCP qbank questions with lab values etc. So, be prepared for that. Try to give concise answers but don’t panic if you are clueless. You can still make a differential diagnosis based on the information given and carry out investigations to reach the exact diagnosis. This is an entry level interview, so they don’t expect you to answer like a consultant!

Teamwork:

You may be asked how you would respond to a difficult situation with a colleague or at your workplace. In answering this, just try to be a responsible and safe doctor with good manners. Use the STAR acronym here: situation, task, action and result, if needed.

Ethics:

I have explained this in detail here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2022/01/10/gp-training-interview-what-to-expect-and-how-to-prepare/

I hope, this short guide helps you prepare for the interview. Let me know if that is the case.

My next post will be about the subsequent steps in BST application after a successful interview. This is a very crucial time with important decisions so make sure to read about that.

Follow the blog, if you haven’t already, in order to be notified about future posts.

And remember, you can always contact me on my facebook page, Magic with medicine if you have further queries. https://www.facebook.com/MagicBlogger/

Best of luck!

GP training interview: What to expect and how to prepare?

First of all, congratulations to all those who got shortlisted for the interviews for GP training by ICGP – Irish college of general practitioners!

The good news is that if you’ve made it so far then you only need to work a little harder and in the right direction and you’ll get through! However, the bad news is that it’s not a straight forward interview at all in which you can succeed without any preparation! So, don’t be over-confident and prepare well for it.

Having said that, what needs to be done?

Interview format:

Currently, due to COVID-19, interviews are done virtually. So, it’ll be a video call beginning with a question like your introduction; general talk about your workplace, work routine or even the weather! This is just a conversation opener and is not marked as such nevertheless it would set the tone of the interview therefore it’s best to have a few lines prepared in advance.

After that, the real questions would start appearing on your screen. There are three main domains which are addressed: your knowledge about the GP practice; ethical scenario and clinical scenario. Each question has further sub-questions.

GP practice:

Firstly, it would help greatly if you are familiar with the Irish healthcare system especially the GP practice. If you are currently working as an SHO or a registrar in a hospital then that would help with some of the ethical and clinical scenario questions. Also, if you’ve lived in Ireland for a few years especially with family and you’ve had quite a few interactions with your local GP then you would have a gist of what a GP does. Moreover, it would be best if you can get an observership with a GP practice for a few days as it would give you an overview and would help with this first question. You might be asked about how COVID pandemic has affected GPs and their practice. What’s the routine of a GP?

Medical ethics:

Next, comes the question which is the weakest point for most IMGs (international medical graduates) i.e. medical ethics. You will need to prepare this well. You may be given a scenario in which you’ve made a prescription error and now need to communicate this to the patient. Or there may be situation in which the consultant has ordered discharge of a patient but his family is unwilling for discharge. What would your approach be in this case? You may even be asked your course of action if a 16 year old girl asks you for contraception. Or your response if you discover that a colleague has come to work after alcohol overuse. There may also be a question that a woman comes to you to get abortion done without informing her husband so what would you do?

Some useful resources to prepare for medical ethics are:

https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/bioethics/resources/cases-in-medical-ethics-student-led-discussions/

https://www.practicalbioethics.org/resources/

https://www.themedicportal.com/application-guide/medical-school-interview/medicine-interview-questions/ethics-questions/

https://www.wma.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Ethics_manual_3rd_Nov2015_en.pdf

Clinical scenarios:

Lastly, there is a clinical scenario like loss of consciousness, depression, emergency contraception, polymyalgia rheumatica, headache, chest pain, transient ischemic attack, menorrhagia, acute monoarthritis etc. For this, I would advise to watch You Tube videos on MRCGP CSA consultations. You would get a basic idea about history, examination, differential diagnosis and approach to patient. Also, there is a website, https://patient.info where you can write any disease and get its overview from history to management. You need to know the main points and not too much details.

I hope this short guide helps you prepare for the interview. Do let me know if this is the case.

Any further questions can be sent on my facebook page, Magic with medicine.

Best of luck!

Ireland GP training – Application process

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.

Eligibility criteria

Only two things are required.

  1. 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.

Competition statistics

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.

Application form

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:

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

Shortlisting process

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.

Important information

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 gptraining@icgp.ie.

If you want to know more about the GP training then refer to these links:

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/

MAGIC WITH MEDICINE.

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BEST OF LUCK!

The 10th Blog Anniversary – Top 10 posts

A burning soul with an ambition to change the world! That’s why I started this blog. Over the course of the past 10 years, I’ve written about social responsibility; motivational sessions and the lessons I learnt from them; fictional stories with a moral undertone; satirical or emotional account of events; book reviews; my opinion about political or social happenings in Pakistan and these days, I’m writing about career guidance and post graduate exams in medicine in Ireland.

Even though, there was a huge lapse in my blogging during my early professional years, I’m glad to be back on track now.

For the purpose of this blog, when I read my old posts, I myself was surprised at how passionate I was about certain issues. Here is what I wrote about the terrorist act at Army Public School Peshawar on 16th December 2014:

“We are terrified and we feel helpless. There is nothing we can do, our politicians are too corrupt and self-centred, we lament. Our borders are too porous to contain the foreign terrorists, we grumble. This is not our war, it has been enforced on us, we protest. We lament and grumble and protest. We point the accusatory finger at others. But did we realize that the remaining four fingers were pointing at our own selves? Oh, this is sure to raise a few eyebrows. How are we to blame, you ask.”

So, if you want to take a roller coaster ride through my opinions on various topics then continue reading. It’ll sure be fun. Let’s take a break from career guidance here!

The following list is in chronological order:

1) KEMCOLIAN CHRONICLES (PART 1)

Publication date: August 5, 2011. Theme: Few rules about shopping in Anarkali: (for girls)

Excerpt:

1) NEVER and I repeat never agree to the 1st price that a shopkeeper tells you. Keep haggling till you get to half the original price!

2) Keep an umbrella with you for smashing any rude guy who dares to call you names…!

3) Wear your most comfortable and worn-out sneakers to ensure that you can still walk on 2 feet after coming out alive from Anarkali.

To read more, click here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2011/08/05/kemcolian-chronicles-part-1/

2) OVER THE (NEW) MOON

Publication date: August 5, 2011. This article was printed in US Magazine on 20/11/2009 in the section Reel Life. Theme: Movie/Book review of “New Moon” – The Twilight saga

Excerpt:

Like Chace Crawford, Robert Pattinson broke into the entertainment industry as a model. He has that pretty boy-model-y look to him — the wavy hair that begs to be styled, the sallow cheeks, the thick eyebrows. However, he has not always been like. “Up until I was 12 my sisters used to dress me up as a girl and introduce me as ‘Claudia’! Twelve was a turning point as I moved to a mixed school and then I became cool and discovered hair gel,” Pattinson shares.

To read more, click here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2011/08/05/over-the-new-moon/

3) MOTIVATIONAL SESSION – PROJECT REPORT

Publication date: September 3, 2011. Theme: The details of the event, ‘Magic with medicine’ which gave this blog its name.

Excerpt:

Throughout the session, there was a lot of interaction with the students which maintained their interest and piqued their curiosity. Never once did anyone leave the auditorium rather more people kept pouring in despite the fact that no more chairs were unoccupied. They were content to even sit on the floor to listen to this great motivational session and get motivated. Their enthusiasm was evident from the oft-repeated applause that punctuated the talk of Mr. Umair Jaliawala.

To read more, click here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2011/09/03/motivational-session-project-report/

4) WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND!

Publication date: March 7, 2012. Theme: A fictional story about the family system.

Excerpt:

This case was more complicated than he’d thought. “Doctor sahab! My wife also shows this unbridled passion for shopping. I can understand it is common for women but this is something more! Last week she bought a dozen unstitched dresses of the same design saying that she was buying them for her niece’s wedding. That niece is only 4 years old!” Mr. Mahmood explained.

To read more, click here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2012/03/07/what-goes-around-comes-around/

5) The DOCTORS’ STRIKE: SIFTING THE MYTH FROM THE FACTS

Publication date: July 5, 2012. Theme: Explaining the doctors’ strike.

Excerpt:

All these measures would eventually stop the massive brain drain that is occurring at present. Medical students who study from public sector colleges see no future in staying in Pakistan unless they have a strong ‘sifarish’ to back them for promotions year after year. Thus, they opt for higher studies and subsequent jobs in US, UK, Australia, Canada and even Middle East. It’s not just a matter of higher pay rather it’s about job security. If even after studying assiduously all your life and completing your graduation with flying colours, you are still dependent on a BPS-16 section officer or a fake-degree holder politician for the continuity of your job, then you’re bound to spend sleepless nights fearing for the future of your family.

To read more, click here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2012/07/05/the-doctors-strike-sifting-the-myth-from-the-facts/

6) MY TAKE ON ELECTIONS 2013 (PART 1)

Publication date: May 13, 2013. Theme: Explaining the election fever.

Excerpt:

In fact, in a few residential areas of Karachi where polling was delayed due to technical reasons, inhabitants of nearby houses provided water to the voters standing in long lines! This was the level of camaraderie and sportsman spirit among the people. I even overheard people saying, “Aaj tu Eid ka din lag raha hai…” Perhaps, festivities of Election Day were greater than that of Eid because they were visible on a greater scale – all over the country on the same day! Hamari tu Eid bi ek din nai hoti, lekin election tu ek din ee hua na…!

To read more, click here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2013/05/13/my-take-on-elections-2013/

7) Horror, Horror! Who is the cruelest person in the world?

Publication date: December 22, 2014. Theme: My reaction to the sad incident of APS Peshawar.

Excerpt:

The reason why you and I cry is because we feel that it could easily have been ‘us’ instead of ‘them’. It could have been my friends whose dead bodies piled up on me would act as a shield for me. It could have been my favourite teacher who was burnt alive in front of me. It could have been your principal who preferred to die rather than save her own self. It could have been you hid under a bench and fearing the approaching black boots. Yes, that is why we all bemoan. Because now we feel the ‘terror’ has truly reached our threshold.

To read more, click here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2014/12/22/horror-horror-who-is-the-cruelest-person-in-the-world/

8) Ireland: Basic Specialty Training – Application process

Publication date: June 20, 2021. Theme: How to apply for medical post graduate training in Ireland?

Excerpt:

It’s obviously best to have references from Ireland but those from Pakistan are also accepted. Appraisal forms need to be filled in by these references and this is an essential part of the application. They are given a huge weightage and the references can also be contacted at any point during the application. At least two referees are compulsory and both must be from different time duration in your clinical experience.

To read more, click here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2021/06/20/ireland-basic-specialty-training-application-process/

9) Frequently Asked Questions

Publication date: June 27, 2021. Theme: FAQs about working in Ireland as doctors.

Excerpt:

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

To read more, click here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2021/06/27/frequently-asked-questions/

10) Job Hunt in Ireland for Doctors

Publication date: July 23, 2021. Theme: How to get a job as a doctor in Ireland?

Excerpt:

Get a few documents ready to be sent over to the job recruiters; HR department of hospitals and online websites. These documents include an introductory email, CV, cover letter, personal statement (optional) and three letters of recommendation.

To read more, click here: https://magicwithmedicine.com/2021/07/23/job-hunt-in-ireland-for-doctors/

Here’s my top 10 blogs. Let me know, which one you liked best? And why? I’ll be awaiting your reviews!

P.S. Don’t forget to ‘Follow the blog’ if you want to be notified about future posts.

Next week, I’ll continue the series on ‘Work experience in Ireland for doctors.’