Moving to Ireland After Relocating to Australia

Are you a GP from Ireland who relocated to Australia? If you’re moving to Ireland again, there are facts you need to know. Here’s your guide.

The Irish immigrating to Australia is not a new thing; in fact, it has been happening since the First Fleet turned-up in Australia in 1788.

This means that the Irish play a significant role in Australia’s ever-evolving cultural, political, and economic background.

Though moving to Australia from Ireland may have its charms, what is lost by doing so? In particular, why did so many GPs move to Australia, and why should they consider returning to their homeland?

In short, many general practitioners decided to relocate because of medical slashes and lack of funding given to the medical profession. GPs felt unable to stay in Ireland, and as a result, patient care suffered.

So what’s changed? And do these changes mean that moving to Ireland may be your next step?

Let’s take a look.

The Cuts

To understand why Irish GPs should move back to Ireland, we should first address the reason that caused many of them to relocate in the first place. Cuts.

These cuts came under the controversial FEMPI (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) acts.

FEMPI cuts were imposed on pensions, General Practice, and medical care during the height of the financial crisis. These cuts have been an ongoing source of anger amongst GPs and medical professionals.

Despite reversals happening in broader public services, General Practice has continued to bear the brunt of these austere cuts, until now.

The government, who have resisted demands to reconsider and revere these cuts, are now making welcome changes.

What Are These Changes?

The changes being made are all in the right direction and are heavily supported by members of the Irish Medical Organisation, who voted 95 percent in favor of the reversal of FEMPI.

The deal itself aims to put back €210 million to reform patient management and reverse cuts.

This deal to increase funding for General Practice over the coming years is a crucial step towards restoring what was imposed upon GPs.

It will help deliver much-needed new services and reinstate how valuable General Practice is to communities and health services.

Some elements to the agreement include:

  • Capitation Fees (monthly fees that are paid to each GP for each of their GMS patients): July 2019- 20% increase; January 2020-2.8% increase; January 2021- 10.2% increase; January 2022 – 9.25% increase
  • Money for Chronic Disease Management: This will be implemented over a phased period of time, starting in January 2020. By 2024 it is estimated that over 400,000 GMS/DVC patients will be part of the Chronic Disease Programme or a High-Risk Evaluation Scheme

The agreement also helps provide new services for patients who hold medical-cards for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular conditions and diabetes.

€80 million is budgeted to support these plans.

  • Deprived Communities: €2 million per annum will be invested to support General Practice in areas of high deprivation
  • Pensions: €10 million allocated for pension contributions.

There are also plans for better Maternity and Paternity payments for GPs:

Maternity and Paternity Payments

Maternity leave contributions for locums will increase, to fund locums who stand in for GPs on maternity leave from January 2020. Funding will increase from €1,300 per week to €2,760 per week.

Paternity leave: From January 2020, contribution to locum costs will be available for up to 14 days at the same rate as maternity benefits. This is an increase from the current three days.

As you’ll have noted, the restoration of funding from the FEMPI will happen over a phased period of time. It will be done in four stages, starting from 1st July 2019 and continue onto January 2022.

It may be essential to highlight that this isn’t a pay increase for GPs but rather a restoration of what was lost during the harsh cuts from FEMPI. Instead, the renovation aims to improve patient services and community-centered services.

These community-center services are targeted towards patients that may have chronic diseases or come from economically deprived areas.

GPs are encouraged to cooperate with these health service reforms by helping patients to enroll in these schemes.

E-Services

Another change to be made in general practice is the use of e-services. This includes services such as:

  1. E-prescribing: This will allow GPs to prescribe/renew and authorize prescriptions digitally. Patients can also request repeat prescriptions, and prescriptions can then be sent to designated pharmacies by mail-order.
  2. E-referrals: This is a digital platform that allows GPs to refer patients from primary care into elective care services. It also provides patients the opportunity to choose their preferred outpatient clinic or hospital for appointments.
  3. Patient summary record: These electronic records hold important, confidential patient medical records. These can only be seen by authorized staff or those involved in the patient’s direct care. It helps GPs keep track of the patient’s conditions, medication, and use of health services.

These progressive changes will help create better patient support and greater efficiency.

As part of the agreement, important medicine safety initiatives and GP support will be provided from HSE Pharmacists. This is particularly useful for patients on multiple medications.

Though there are still discussions to be had, and further negotiations to be made, these changes mark an important first step towards change. The agreement will help restore services and the importance and value of GPs in the community.

Many Irish GPs left out of frustration. The cuts made them feel undervalued and unable to provide patients with the care and services needed.

But with this agreement comes hope for more significant developments and investments, and with that, hopefully, the return of Irish GPs.

Moving to Ireland: Why Return?

You left Ireland for a reason, why would you come back, you may ask? As you would have read above, things are changing, and steps are being made to recover healthcare services and funding.

The loss of talented and valuable people is enormous, not only to the country but also to the communities that would have lost their GPs. To combat the blow of losing Irish-trained GPs, internationally trained GPs have had to fill the void.

But why should this convince you to come back home to Ireland? Perhaps it won’t, but let’s take a brief look into Irish culture and what you would regain if you returned to your homeland.

Irish Culture

Ireland is rich in culture and history, and proudly so. The beautiful, rugged landscape that lines the coast is scattered with sacred sites, vibrant green fields, and ancient ruins.

Modern Ireland honors its past by continuing to educate and incorporate elements of it.

Though beaches and hot weather may have been enticing, to begin with, Ireland offers adventures and landscapes to explore, which have excited the imaginations of many a traveler, poet, and author. Where better to recenter yourself than amongst Irish nature?

The traditional Irish language (Gaeilge), music, and dance are some of the creative and fundamental cultural forms that make up Irish identity.

The ancient art of storytelling is another principal value for many Irish and is a common way to break down barriers.

The Irish are known for many things, amongst them warmth, humor, modesty, and camaraderie.

Patriotism is another critical element to Irish identity, and rightly so. If Irish history shows anything, it’s that adversity and struggle will not beat them.

Ireland has a rich history that stretches over 5,000 years. They’re known for their perseverance in the face of adversity. They’re proud to come out of struggles like the Potato Famine (1845) and the Irish War for Independence (1919-1921).

Family

The family remains fundamental to Irish values. This unique bond and concept of loyalty amongst Irish families is undoubtedly partly due to the struggles faced in Irish history. Hard times either break families apart or bring them closer together.

For the most part, having a close, personal, and supportive relationship with family is something that is still highly valued. For many GPs that relocated to Australia, the separation from their family was probably the hardest thing to endure.

There’s No Place Like Home

Australia may have had it’s high-points, but most of us can agree that there really is no place like home. Many GPs decided to leave after the draconian cuts that were made to the healthcare system.

It affected their ability to perform care to the highest standard and also left them feeling undervalued. But this is changing now.

The Irish government has finally listened to demand and is in the process of making significant changes that will improve medical care.

For many, Ireland holds a beauty, charm, and the priceless element of nostalgia that simply cannot have a price put on it. Moving to Ireland may not have been on your agenda, but perhaps it’s time to reconsider coming home.

If you would like more information, or to find out what we do, contact us today!