The number of Irish GP practice vacancies fell sharply last year to the lowest level in more than a decade as the number of registered doctors in the country continued to decline.
But the number and type of GP training vacancies remain high, with almost half of the country’s doctors training in a different country, and the number who work in a remote practice or in other non-GP areas has risen sharply.
The number of vacancies fell from 1,822 in 2016 to 819 last year, according to the latest figures from the Irish GP Association (IGPA), with an average vacancy rate of 4.7%.
The shortage of doctors in Ireland has been particularly acute in the wake of the Brexit vote and its aftermath, when many doctors fled the country for jobs in other countries.
However, it has also affected the recruitment of doctors to practice in Ireland.
The IGPA said the number on the register fell from 5,092 in 2016 and 6,738 last year.
The association said the situation had worsened since last summer when the number fell to 6,081.
It said the overall number of doctors working in the Irish Republic increased by 4.2% to 7,837 last year and the Irish doctors working abroad by 3.6% to 4,788.
Meanwhile, the number working in Ireland, the IGPAs own medical service, dropped from 3,534 in 2016 but rose to 3,636 in 2017, an increase of 2.2%.
However, a large proportion of Irish doctors, with a majority of the population, continue to live in Ireland to take up their jobs in the Republic.
There are only 3,872 doctors registered in the Ireland and the UK, according the IGA, and that includes about 1,000 in the IGB and 3,500 in the National Health Service.