Medical Council logoComhairle na nDochtúirí Leighis | Medical Council

BACKGROUND

As of March 2015, the Council agreed that no new applications for specialty recognition should be considered until a review has taken place.

Plymouth University Peninsula Group were commissioned to conduct this review in 2017. The objective of the review was to identify enhancements to the process and explore a range of international approaches to specialty recognition, along with alternative options, which could prove beneficial to the alignment of a doctor’s particular skills and abilities to patient needs.

The review provided an opportunity to ensure that the recognition process continues to meet the needs of the health system, incorporates best practice in the area, and reflects Council's priorities in the areas of education, training and lifelong learning.

WHAT IS SPECIALTY RECOGNITION?

The Medical Council’s primary statutory responsibility, under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 (MPA 2007), is to protect the interests of the public. As part of this role, it sets standards for undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training and monitors compliance with those standards. Its remit includes responsibility for determining, with the consent of the Minister for Health, the medical specialties that it recognises under the MPA 2007. It should be noted that the medical specialties recognised shall include such medical specialties as may be designated as applying to the State in any Directive adopted by the Council of the European Communities relating to specialist medicine.

THE PROCESS

The process is broken into three stages:

Pre Stage 1 Assessment

  • Examples and evidence provided for all criterion and sub-criterion 1-3
  • Workforce / Model of care data 
  • Evidence of meaningful public consultation
  • Development of high-level training plan
  • Evidence of support from parent Postgraduate Training Body and HSE NDTP
  • Signed Terms of Engagement
  • The appointment of a dedicated Medical Council Liaison Officer, HSE Liaison Officer, Training Body Liaison Officer
  • Mentor Support

Stage 1

  • Team of Assessor for Specialist Training (TAST) assessment.
  • TAST make recommendation to  Education and Training Committee (ETC)  for consideration
  • ETC make final recommendation for the Medical Council to consider
  • Option for Internal Review if the aspirant speciality is concerned that due process was not followed by the TAST and/or the ETC in deciding on their recommendation

 Stage 2

  • Detailed training programme plan
  • Medical Council public consultation (must include feedback from HSE and DoH)
  • Team of Assessor for Specialist Training (TAST) assessment
  • TAST make recommendation to  ETC  for consideration
  • ETC make final recommendation for the Medical Council to consider
  • Option for Internal Review if the aspirant speciality is concerned that due process was not followed by the TAST and/or the ETC in deciding on their recommendation
  • Council decision on recognition

APPLY FOR SPECIALTY RECOGNITION

To commence the application process, aspiring applicants must submit their expression of interest outlining the need for specialty recognition, electronically to specialtyrecognition@mcirl.ie.

Following receipt of the expression of interest, applicants will be assigned a designated Medical Council Liaison Officer (MCLO) who will issue the specialty recognition application form and guide applicants through the application process. The MCLO will also provide details about the Mentor Support option that applicants can avail of.  Please note that a single point of contact from the aspirant specialty must be agreed during the initial application phase.

All application forms are to be returned electronically via the dedicated email address.

Guidance for Aspirant Specialities in relation to the process can be downloaded here and an overview of the overall process can be downloaded here.