A new report from the Medical Council has said Ireland has a relatively young medical workforce, with just one in five doctors aged 55-years or older.

It says that one in three doctors practicing here qualified elsewhere and the reliance on international medical graduates is among the highest in the OECD.

There has been a 12% increase in the number of women on the medical register since 2008.

Significantly higher than average proportions of women practice in areas such as public health medicine, paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology.

Women are twice as likely as men to work part-time.

Caroline Spillane, Chief Executive of the Medical Council, said that a time of health system reform, it is essential to continue to focus on developing and retaining doctors with the right mix of skills, to meet the changing needs of patients and the health service.

The "Medical Workforce Intelligence Report" says that almost half of doctors are registered as specialists, although less than one in five in emergency medicine are specialists.

Some specialities have a much higher proportion of older doctors such as occupational medicine, public health medicine, psychiatry, general surgery and general practice.

The report shows that the exit rate among young doctors, who have graduated here is high.

Nearly 8% of young doctors leave Ireland each year and the number is increasing.

The Medical Council says that more data over five years or longer will be needed to determine if the exit rate of doctors is a significant concern.

The report is available on the Medical Council website.