Guide for Ukrainian Doctors
This document outlines important information on working and living in Ireland. Its aim is to provide guidance to doctors who have recently arrived in Ireland from Ukraine who are seeking work in psychiatry in the public healthcare system in Ireland, for the first time.
The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, formed in 2009, is the professional body for psychiatrists in the Republic of Ireland. It is the sole body recognised for training of doctors to become specialists in psychiatry and for providing career-long competence for specialists in psychiatry.
The Mission of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland (hereafter referred to as ‘the College’) is to promote excellence in the practice of psychiatry.
The College is a not-for-profit professional membership organisation and is a Registered Charity (CHY 18077).
Apart from a membership unit, the College has three main areas (departments):
- Professional Competence
- Postgraduate Training
- External Affairs & Policy (including Public Education and Communications)
Further information on the College and its work is available on our website.
Section 1: Coming to work in the Public Healthcare System in Ireland
The Medical Council of Ireland regulates medical doctors in the Republic of Ireland.
If you plan to work as a doctor in Ireland, you must first register with the Irish Medical Council.
The Medical Register in Ireland has five divisions and the one the doctors travelling to Ireland are most likely to be eligible for is the Irish Medical Council General Register.
The Medical Council have a dedicated webpage with information for doctors who have arrived from the Ukraine. Information on Medical Register divisions, registration requirements and how to register with the medical council is provided. The registration process is online and explained in detail.
There is also a dedicated email address for doctors who may have a query regarding registration following their arrival from Ukraine: email@example.com
After arrival in Ireland, it is important that you have a full understanding of the opportunities available and set yourself achievable career goals.
Many posts in Ireland are temporary in nature. Although this presents its own challenges, it does present opportunities to work in a number of locations, offering an exposure to varied clinical cases. Permanent posts are usually only made at consultant specialist level, for those who have completed the required level of training and qualifications.
In order to apply for consultant posts there is a requirement to be registered on the Specialist Register of the Medical Council.
The four psychiatry specialties recognised for the purposes of specialist registration in Ireland are:
- Psychiatry (General Adult Psychiatry)
- Learning Disability Psychiatry
- Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
- Old Age Psychiatry
There are three eligibility routes for those wishing to apply for Specialist Registration with the Medical Council of Ireland:
- Completed higher specialist training in Ireland – Doctors who have completed specialist training programmes in Ireland will either transfer to this type of registration or restore their name to the register
- Trained and/or recognised as a specialist in an European Union State – Automatic recognition of qualifications
- Completed higher specialist training or equivalent and not automatically recognised – Evaluation of existing training and experience
Applicants who are not eligible for automatic recognition into the specialist division may have their existing training and experience evaluated. This is done by comparing the training and experience they received to the training attained by a graduate of the relevant training programme in Ireland.
Applicants under this category include:
- First-time applicants for specialist registration who have completed their training in a Non European Union/European Economic Area Country
- Applicants for specialist registration who have a mixture of training and experience wholly or partly obtained in a European Union/ European Economic Area member state but whose qualifications are not eligible for automatic recognition
The College is the body which the Medical Council may request to review psychiatric applications for the Specialist Register and to provide a recommendation to the Medical Council.
However, the Medical Council is the registration body and the final decision regarding registration lies with it.
Doctors who wish to find out more about Specialist Registration in Ireland can request an application pack, or to make an application, please refer to the Specialist Registration section of the Medical Council website.
Some doctors arriving into Ireland may be interested in applying for specialist training programmes
It is important that you have clarity on how access to specialist training for all specialties works in Ireland, including General Practice.
There are many opportunities for further education and training open to doctors working in Ireland, including post-graduate education.
Admission to specialist psychiatry training occurs on an annual basis. The process generally opens in October with the training commencing in July of the following year.
Selection for training is based on a review of clinical and academic achievements, interview performance and general suitability for a career in psychiatry. Candidates who meet the eligibility criteria may be shortlisted for interview.
When the interview process is completed candidates are then ranked. However, the College must, under European legislation, offer training places to citizens of Ireland or another EU country in the first instance.
For further information on the application to specialist training, visit the College website.
In order to apply for a consultant post, registration on the Specialist Register of the Medical Council of Ireland is required (See page 6 for information on specialist registration).
The application process for consultant posts is managed centrally by the Irish Public Appointments Service (PAS) or by individual private health insurance organisations.
A code of practice exists in Ireland that ensures that all appointments are made in an open, transparent and accountable manner.
Following the successful completion of the Irish Medical Council registration process, doctors recently arrived from Ukraine can then apply for NCHD (Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor) posts. These are not part of specialist training programmes and are advertised on a number of platforms, including:
- Hospital websites
- The Public Appointment Service in Ireland – see here
- Recruitment websites such as IrishJobs.ie
- The College website – see here
- Medical Locum Agencies
All NCHDs must be able to provide a CV, evidence of registration with the Medical Council in Ireland and at least two references before interview.
A short-listing process generally takes place based on the information provided by candidates.
If a candidate is successful following short-listing, then an interview will be scheduled.
Applicants are interviewed by at least two people, one of which will be a consultant in the relevant specialty.
If the interview is successful, a job offer will then be made. All doctors will be offered the employment contract.
All contract holders are obliged to open a National Employment Record (NER) Portal account, and then upload the relevant training certificates (e.g. BLS/Standard Precautions, including Hand hygiene/Fire Training/Patient Handling) and pre-employment information (e.g. passport, birth certificate and applicable immigration documentation).
Proficiency in the English language is a core competence required of all doctors working in the Irish public health service. You are required to be able to communicate effectively with patients and to comply with statutory and regulatory requirements and human resource policies and procedures.
The English language requirements are of universal application and make no distinction between training, non-training, intern or any category or grouping. Thus, NCHDs seeking to take up employment who were not registered with the Irish Medical Council prior to the 1st January 2015 and who did not complete the entirety of their undergraduate medical training in the Republic of Ireland are required to provide evidence of such proficiency.
There are three ways to do this:
- Doctors who completed their medical degree in English, in any of the following countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA, or the United Kingdom, must provide a copy of their medical degree certificate.
- Doctors who completed the Irish state Leaving Certificate examination or A levels in the United Kingdom and a medical degree in English must provide all three of the following:
- A copy of the Irish Leaving Certificate/UK A Level transcript results
- A copy of their Medical Degree
- A certificate/confirmation from their university confirming their medical degree was taught and examined solely in English
- Doctors who do not fall into either preceding category must meet the English language requirements by attaining certification via the recognised English language tests and submit a certificate of test results from either the International English Language Test system (IELTS) or Occupational English Test (OET).
Below is a list of documentation required prior to taking up a position in Ireland:
- Curriculum Vitae
- Evidence of IMC Registration
- Work permit (if applicable)
- Offer letter – signed and dated
- At least two references, one of which must be from the most recent Supervising Consultant/Employer
- Satisfactory Garda Vetting
- Evidence of maintenance of Medical Council Continuing Professional Development requirements
- Valid IELTS/OET English Language Certificate (to standard required)
A psychiatry team is led by a Consultant Psychiatrist and supported by a number of Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs) and a multidisciplinary team (MDT).
The number of doctors on the team is generally determined by the service that is provided; for example, a psychiatry team in large hospital will have a number of registrars, senior house officers and interns (doctors recently graduated from medical school).
The on-call arrangements for each team are worked out locally by the hospital. Most Mental Health Services consist of a multidisciplinary team. This should consist of psychiatrists, clinical nurse specialists/community mental health nurses, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, medical secretaries and sometimes other disciplines such as counsellors, drama therapists, art therapists, advocacy workers and care workers.
It may be possible for doctors recently arrived from Ukraine to obtain an observership while awaiting Irish Medical Council registration.
A medical observership is an experience where individuals with medical education can observe medical professionals as they care for patients and families for a specific period of time. An observer will not provide patient care or have direct patient contact.
Doctors recently arrived from Ukraine who are interested in an observership are advised to make direct contact with your local mental health service.
The Irish Health Service (Health Service Executive or ‘HSE’) uses translation services for patients who cannot communicate in English.
Information on these services and how to register are available on the HSE website.
Section 2: How the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland can support you
All doctors who hold Specialist, General and Supervised registration with the Irish Medical Council are legally obliged to maintain professional competence by (i) enrolling in a Professional Competence Scheme (PCS) AND (ii) meeting the annual requirements for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) credits and Clinical/Practice Audit, as set by the Medical Council.
Professional Competence Schemes in Ireland are regulated and overseen by the Medical Council and operated by Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies (Medical Colleges), approved by the Medical Council. Doctors are required to enrol in a Professional Competence Scheme that best reflects their education, training, competence and scope of practice. For doctors whose practice is 50% or more in psychiatry, the appropriate Professional Competence Scheme (PCS) is the the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland scheme.
Full details of schemes and Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies are available on the Medical Council website.
The PCS year commences 1 May and ends 30 April of each year. Where a doctor is entered on the Medical Council Register mid way during the PCS year, prorata requirements for maintenance of professional competence apply for that
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Medical Council revised the requirements for the PCS Year May 2022 – April 2023. In this period, doctors are required to undertake and record the following CPD activity with their scheme: 25 credits (in any category: External CPD, Internal CPD, Personal CPD, Research, Teaching, Examining, Supervision CPD) AND 1 clinical/practice audit.
The College will waive the 2022/2023 PCS enrolment fee of €252 per annum for any doctor with refugee or asylum seeker status who has arrived in Ireland. Evidence of immigration status and Irish Medical Council registration will be necessary. We require a doctor to be on the Irish Medical Council register to process a PCS enrolment application.
For further information, see here. To apply to the College PCS, visit our enrolment page.
If you have any questions, you can also email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership of the College offers access to a comprehensive range of resources supporting you in your career in psychiatry and is open to all doctors working in psychiatry.
There are many benefits of membership including:
- Significantly reduced registration fees to College events.
- Access to the CPsychI E-Learning site Moodle
- Access to the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine
The full benefits of membership depend on which category of membership you qualify for – see here for more information on these categories.
The College is offering a free membership trial to doctors who have entered Ireland as a refugee or who have asylum seeker status. You will receive membership to the College until 1st November 2022 free of charge. At this time, you will be offered the option to renew your membership at the subscription fee relevant to the category of membership you are eligible for.
For more information and details on how to apply for your trial membership, please email Jennie Dalton at email@example.com
Section 3: Introduction to life in Ireland
There are a number of organisations which can assist you in obtaining accommodation on arrival into Ireland including the Irish Refugee Council, the Irish Red Cross and housing organisation Threshold.
When working in Ireland your salary will be paid directly to your bank account. There are a number of commercial banks in Ireland, so prior to opening an account it is worth doing some research on the different options available to you.
In order to open an account you will need:
- Personal Details: An Irish address and an Irish mobile phone number
- Photo Identification, such as a passport
- Evidence of your Irish residential address
If you haven’t opened a bank account prior to your move to Ireland, then ensure you have other ways of accessing money whilst waiting for your account to be opened as it can take time to receive your bank debit card.
Your journey to Ireland is most likely unplanned. The most up to date information for Ukrainian citizens and their family members wishing to travel to Ireland can be found on the Irish Immigration website.
In order to secure the necessary visa, you are required to complete a visa application. Before presenting themselves for entry to the country, the doctor must have:
- Registration as medical practitioner with the Medical Council
- An immigration visa granting permission to work in Ireland
- A job offer or employment contract
Once a doctor has successfully entered the country, they must attend an appointment with the immigration service of the Department of Justice where they will receive the appropriate stamp on their immigration card. Full details of how to apply for a visa can be obtained from the Irish Department of Justice.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) provides all of Ireland’s public health services in hospitals and communities across the country. This includes the public hospital system.
The hospital services that are delivered include inpatient scheduled care, unscheduled/emergency care, maternity services and outpatient and diagnostic services. Patient service is modelled around Integrated Care, which allows patients’ needs to be co-ordinated between different services.
Mental Health Services are provided both through acute in-patient hospital service and through Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs).
The public hospital structure in Ireland is split into 7 hospital groups. The groups all have a “lead” hospital.
There are 9 Community Healthcare Organisations, which are labelled CHO 1-9. Each CHO has a Chief Officer in the area who leads a local management team that includes focus on all of the specialist services in their area.
Each CHO operates through an average of 10 Primary Care Networks comprising of GPs, nurses and allied health professionals.
For a breakdown of and details on the 9 CHO areas in Ireland, see here.
The HSE now has a dedicated website for supporting Ukrainian refugees arriving into Ireland.
For further information on mental health services in Ireland, please visit the HSE website.
Section 4: Irish Employment Legislation
Employers should provide you with certain information, such as a contract of employment, a job description, rate of pay and hours of work. For further details please see Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994–2014.
There are four pieces of legislation that are relevant to your employment in Ireland:
- The National Minimum Wage Act 2000 provides for an enforceable national minimum wage.
- The Payment of Wages Act 1991 gives employees the right to a pay slip showing their gross wages and details of any deductions.
- The Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts 1973–2005 sets out the amount of notice you are entitled to prior to the termination of employment.
- The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 regulates a number of employment conditions including maximum working hours, night work, annual leave and public holiday leave.
The Organisation of Working Time Regulations 2001 requires that employers keep records of the number of hours employees work on a daily and weekly basis, the amount of leave granted to employees in each week as annual leave or as public holidays and details of the payments in respect of this leave. Employers must also keep weekly records of employees starting and finishing times.
Irish employees have a number of statutory entitlements relating to:
For information about safety in the workplace please see the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.
The Employment Equality Acts 1998–2015 further prohibit discrimination in a range of employment-related areas. The prohibited grounds of discrimination are gender, civil status, family status, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and membership of the Traveller community. It also places an obligation on employers to prevent harassment in the workplace.
The Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001 prevents discrimination against part-time workers.
The Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act 2003 protects fixed-term employees by ensuring that they cannot be treated less favourably than comparable permanent workers and that employers cannot continually renew fixed-term contracts.
The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 protects employees from penalisation if they make a disclosure about wrongdoing in the workplace.
Ireland has a comprehensive range of legislation – for further information on employment legislation and others, please visit:
- The Irish Statute Book website
- The Oireachtas website (Ireland Houses of Parliament)
- Citizens Information