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Any place where medicine is practised should be licensed, says Medical Council President

Speaking to the annual dinner of the Medical Council, the Council President Dr Colm Quigley said "it is simply not acceptable to have private hospitals, private clinics, eye surgery clinics or cosmetic surgery clinics unregulated into the future. Any place where a doctor is engaged in medical practice must be appropriately licensed. Indeed it may well be necessary for doctors in practice in such sites to question the governance of such sites, to be assured of patient safety and to take a leading role in ensuring that licensing does occur. I am aware that many private hospitals engage in a form of accreditation where their standards are assessed and accredited by an external accrediting agency. That is very appropriate and is to be a lauded. Nevertheless, it is most important that the state ensures that all of its citizens are protected by a licensing system. We have it for registered medical practitioners. We must also have it for all premises where doctors treat patients".

Dr Quigley continued: "The history of medical regulation is driven by the recognition by doctors that increasingly complex societies must evolve procedures to maintain the relationship of trust that had existed for millennia. It is not about inventing something new. It is about holding onto the most valuable thing we must have. Trust. That trust has taken a serious battering in Ireland in recent years. There have been tragic cases where people in this country placed their trust and were let down. The confidence of the public and patients in our health care system and perhaps our doctors has been badly shaken and damaged. Where there is any damage to the trust with which patients approach doctors then patient care is likely to suffer. That trust must be restored. It is our responsibility as doctors to do so".

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Issued by Lisa Molloy Tel: 01-4983152