Press Release

Varadkar approves recognition of Military Medicine as Specialty of the Medical Council

The Minister has given the go-ahead for Military Medicine to be developed as a dual qualification alongside general practice.

It means that military medicine will be treated as a clearly defined and distinct area of medicine for the first time. It will be a stand-alone specialty in its own right, and will involve training in general practice, emergency medicine, anaesthesia, public health, occupational medicine and psychiatry.

There are currently 18 medical officers serving full time with the Permanent Defence Forces.

Minister Varadkar said: “I think this measure makes a lot of sense. The new specialty will specifically address the medical requirements of the defence forces. It will lead to the development of a comprehensive and relevant training programme for medical practitioners, whether they serve at home or with the UN.

“The specialist skills will be a particular benefit to those involved in humanitarian assistance and disaster response. It will also provide a career path for military doctors when they complete their military career and return to general practice and civilian life.”

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney also welcomed the recognition of ‘Military Medicine’ as a specialty stating that: “This is one of a range of measures currently being considered to advance the development of the medical service for the Defence Forces. It also recognises the skillset which Medical Officers serving in the Defence Forces bring to bear in their work at home and overseas.”

The Medical Council held a consultation phase earlier this year and recommended that Military Medicine should be approved as a specialty.

The Irish College of General Practitioners will support the new specialty.

Other information

Following internship, many doctors will undertake postgraduate training with a view to becoming specialists in areas of medical practice which appeal to them.  The Medical Council may determine the medical specialties which it recognises for the purposes of its functions under the Act and then recommend these to the Minister for approval.   The most recent specialty added in 2014 was Vascular Surgery. The addition of Military Medicine brings the number of medical specialties on the Specialist Register to 57.