No stone should be left unturned when it comes to attracting and retaining healthcare professionals, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Colm Burke has said there is an urgent need to address Ireland’s current tax rates to ensure we keep our healthcare graduates working in Ireland.
Senator Burke said: “Our dependency on doctors and nurses from other countries has grown dramatically over the last decade. Emigration of Irish healthcare professionals is forcing the HSE to recruit healthcare staff from developing countries, thereby undermining the provision of healthcare in those countries.
“I believe our income tax system is playing a role in convincing young doctors and other healthcare professionals to emigrate. They have been trained in Ireland at great expense so it is important we retain them here.
“In some hospitals outside of major cities, up to 70% of junior doctors are made up of non-Irish graduates. Taxation and the provision of a high standard of living has a part to play in retaining Irish medical professionals.
“As the economy continues to grow, resources will become available to further tax cuts. I believe this should be addressed in the next Budget by focusing tax cuts on raising the current threshold of €34,550 for the higher rate to €37,500.
“In the following years the threshold should be linked to the average wage at a minimum. I think we need to be more ambitious than that. We should set a target to raise the tax threshold for the higher rate of tax to €40,000 over the next two budgets.
“Low inflation and moderate wage increases combined with tax cuts are the best guarantee of improving disposable incomes.
“In particular lower tax rates on average and middle incomes are good for productivity and will keep the economy competitive.
“This will also ensure we can keep Irish graduates in Ireland and reduce our dependency on non-Irish workers,” the Fine Gael Senator said.