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Medical Council Approves New Registration Rules


14th December 2010:

Medical Council Approves New Registration Rules

The Medical Council has approved new Rules governing the Registration of medical practitioners. An explanatory Guide, to support doctors through the application process and provide advice for registered doctors on matters regarding their registration, has also been developed.

The new Rules significantly transform the eligibility requirements for entry into the General Division of the Register and enable the Medical Council to use its recently-published new criteria for issuing a Certificate of Experience in Ireland as a benchmark against which medical graduates who cannot benefit from recognition of their professional qualifications under EU legislation will have their internship training measured. [Standards and Guidelines for Overseas Internships] Under these criteria, medical practitioners who qualified outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will be required to either prove to the satisfaction of the Council that they have been trained to that standard or higher. Doctors who cannot provide satisfactory evidence that they meet this standard will be required to pass a pre-registration examination (PRES).

Commenting on the new Rules, the President of the Medical Council, Professor Kieran Murphy, said: "the experience gained by the Council since implementing the last set of Rules, together with feedback from the public consultation process has contributed to the development of more concise Rules. The new Guide to Registration should put the legislation into plain language and provide practical assistance to the applicant".

Professor Murphy went on to say: "in view of the current difficulties with Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor (NCHD) recruitment, these new rules will mean that some applicants for posts, who have completed a similarly high standard of internship training to that of Irish doctors, will not be required to pass the PRES if they are registering in the General Division".

Further exemptions from the PRES will continue to be granted to doctors who have been awarded a recognised Higher Qualification, such as Membership or Fellowship of an Irish postgraduate training body, if they are seeking registration in the Trainee Specialist Division and to doctors completing certain programmes abroad which include a brief period of training in Ireland.

The Medical Council continues to cooperate with the HSE in relation to the shortage of NCHDs. Professor Murphy said that "we are assisting with registration queries during recruitment drives. We have also prioritised processing applications for these posts while continuing to maintain the highest standards of assessing applicants".

Commenting on how the Medical Council is currently prevented from testing the English language skills of doctors seeking to work in Ireland, Professor Murphy said: "the Medical Council is extremely concerned about this issue. Our mission to safeguard the public is significantly impeded when we cannot require that all doctors prove, as part of the registration process, that they are capable of clearly communicating with colleagues and with patients. The Council will continue to actively pursue a change in legislation to facilitate language testing. In the interim, Council will continue to ensure that every possible measure available to it, within the confines of the legislation, is taken to address this issue in the registration process. Council will also continue to reinforce with employers, such as the HSE, the need to ensure all doctors recruited into the Irish health system are fluent in English.

The rules will come into force from January 1st 2011 and replace the previous Registration and PRES rules. The rules are available on the Medical Council by clicking here and an explanatory guide will also be available shortly.

The rules, which were approved by the Medical Council at a meeting on December 10th, have now been sent to the Minister for Health and Children to be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas as per the Medical Practitioners Act 2007.

For further information contact:
Ciara McMorrow, Corporate Services
Telephone: +353 1 4983153
Email: cmcmorrow@mcirl.ie