After our first interview with a Pediatric Registrar from South Africa living and working in Ireland, it’s time for us to find out more about how it works, the IMC process and the day to day for an European doctor moving to Ireland.

Dr Angela Marchal is originally from Madrid and has been living in Ireland since end of 2020. With over 6 years of experience working in family medicine in busy clinics in Spain, she is giving us an overview about her experience working as a GP in the heart of  Dublin center.

Why did you decide to move to Ireland?

I had spent the whole year of the pandemic working very hard in Madrid and needed a change of scenery.
I looked into how difficult it was to come to Ireland from Spain and found out that it was really easy (unlike the UK, you need to go through different processes) in Ireland everything was easier.

What did you think of the registration process with the IMC? How long did it take to complete your process?

Like all registration processes it takes time and you have to do paperwork.
First, I registered through their website, then I had to collect all the documents they asked for, translate and notarize them and send them by post. The process took no more than 2 months in my case.

What were your biggest concerns about the move?

My main concern at the beginning was the language, I didn’t know if I would be able to develop my work in English. We always think we have a very low level of English.
I didn’t feel confident, it was a bit difficult at the beginning, but within a couple of months I felt totally confident with the language. I have been improving a lot during these months and I feel comfortable speaking English. Of course, we have our own accent but that is not an impediment at all.

What do you like most about living in Ireland?

What I like most about living in Ireland is without a doubt the balance between work and personal life that I have found here and I didn’t have in Spain. Irish people are really friendly and open people, I have never had a bad experience with them, even though my English wasn’t very good at the beginning. I have never felt that I was discriminated against because of that, on the contrary, they are enormously grateful and polite.

How did MatchMedics helped you through the process?

Graham has helped me find the perfect job. I told him what I wanted and what I was looking for and what my requirements were and he found it. I am enormously grateful. I would definitely recommend him or his team.

How many hours do you work in a normal week?

At the moment I am working 35 hours, but I could choose to work less, in Ireland you have the flexibility to choose how many days you work a week, normally GPs work 4 days a week, but there are doctors who work 3 and others 5, it depends on what you want to do.

What was the biggest difference about working as a GP in Ireland versus in Spain?

As I said before, the biggest difference is working in two different health systems. In the end the work as a GP is more or less the same, you see the same pathologies, the same types of patients, but you work in a very different system that does things in a different way, you have to get used to that.
The difference in the system is important, but then you realize that being within the European Union we are guided by the same guidelines and medicine is not so different.
There are a few more peculiarities, there are no primary care pediatricians here, GPs see all patients from 0 to 100 years old. Which I think is wonderful.
I have also found differences in relation to Women’s Health, here it is very advanced and the GPs have a lot of training in contraception, menopause and HRT.
Another difference is that GPs have access to order the vast majority of tests (MRI, CT scan..) so you can resolve many things or even refer to specialists with more accurate diagnoses.

What was the biggest challenge for you settling in Ireland?

For me it has not been very difficult to be honest, I was very lucky, when I arrived because of the pandemic there was a lot of accommodation available which is the biggest problem here.
You have to do some initial paperwork but it’s normal when you move to a new country, you have to have your PPSN, open a bank account, I bought a car for example.
I have been living in another country before so I am aware that you have to do some paperwork when you move to a new country. Ireland is a country within the European Union, the currency is the Euro, it is not a big difference from Spain.

What advice would you give to doctors coming over?

You have to keep an open mind, because the system is very different from what we are used to in Spain. In Spain we have a very developed public system with a lot of resources, here that doesn’t exist, although they are improving. In the end you get used to the way things are done here and it is not a big problem, but at the beginning the change makes an impact.


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