Dáil Éireann - Volume 314 - 23 May, 1979

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Public Investment in Medical Education.

5. Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Education the present level of public investment in medical education and if it is justified when the average annual [1254] number of doctors graduating from Irish medical schools is 340 whereas the annual number of posts for registered medical practitioners available is only 120; and if the reallocation of some of these resources to preventive public health measures has been considered.

6. Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Education if he will indicate the cost to the taxpayer of each qualified doctor and if this type of information is of relevance in assessing the appropriate level of public investment in higher education.

Mr. Wilson: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 and 6 together.

As I indicated in reply to a similar question on 27 October 1977, separate figures of expenditure on medical education are not available in the income and expenditure accounts of the university colleges. It is not possible, therefore, to calculate the average allocation to the taxpayer of each qualified doctor. In the circumstances the second part of Question No. 5 does not arise.

With regard to the matter of the annual number of doctors graduating from Irish medical schools each year, I should state that the Higher Education Authority have recommended maximum numbers of entrants to the first medical year in each college as from the commencement of the academic year 1980-81. The authority consider that a reduction in the current output to a figure of about 300, which would result from the adopting of their recommendation, to be adequate at the present time.