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Medical Council Begins Consultation Process for New Registration Rules

Feedback sought on rules for eligibility to new Supervised Division of the Medical Register

In accordance with the provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, the Medical Council today (11th July, 2011) began the consultation process for the development of registration rules for entry to the new Supervised Division of the medical register. The Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Act, 2011 which was signed into law on Friday last, establishes a new Supervised Division of the medical register. The new rules specify the standards which must be met by doctors before they are registered to work in supervised posts in hospital settings approved by the Medical Council.

At present, doctors who enter the General Division of the register can take up any post including, for example, unsupervised, locum general practice positions, and may work wholly in private practice. Doctors on the new Supervised Division will be restricted to working under supervision only in Council approved posts for a cumulative total of two years or less.

As required under the Medical Practitioners Act, the Medical Council today opened a period of public consultation on the rules and is inviting the views of the public, medical professionals and relevant organisations before rules are finalised and become operational.

Speaking today, President of the Medical Council, Professor Kieran Murphy said:
"The Medical Council is encouraging all interested members of the public to send us their views on these new rules. This is an important requirement of the Act because all rules regarding the registration of doctors concern the safety of patients. The Medical Council's role is to set the standards for doctors working in Ireland to ensure the safety of the public. These rules have been drafted to create robust processes which will assure both the Council and the general public that doctors on the new Supervised Division of the medical register are fit to practise medicine in Ireland."

Under the draft new rules, registration to the new Supervised Division will be contingent upon doctors satisfying the Council that their education and training meet the required standards. An important measure in this process involves the Medical Council verifying the qualifications of all applicants and ensuring that they have not been subject to disciplinary action in any country where they previously practised medicine. Doctors will also be required to undertake a Medical Council examination related to their chosen specialty which will assess their competence in the areas of clinical judgement, communication and data interpretation.

Successful applicants will be registered in supervised posts and the rules also outline the HSE's responsibilities in relation to the new Supervised Division. The HSE must make a declaration to the Medical Council for each doctor in the Division which will outline the nature of the post, the duties the doctor will be charged with and the supervisory arrangements which will be in place.

Professor Murphy continued:
"It is vital that patients have confidence in their doctor's ability to provide a high standard of care. These new rules will determine the criteria which must be met by doctors entering our health system in supervised posts, and the public, as well as medical professionals and other relevant organisations have the opportunity to shape these rules by providing feedback to the Medical Council."

The draft rules are available from the Council's website at www.medicalcouncil.ie, where a feedback form can also be downloaded. Submissions on the draft rules must reach the Council by 9am on July 18th 2011.

Feedback can be submitted:

Ends.

Note to editors:

About the Medical Council
The Medical Council protects the public by promoting and better ensuring high standards of professional conduct, and professional education, training and competence among registered medical practitioners. In December 2010, there were 18,770 doctors registered with the Medical Council.

For further information contact:
Lorna Farren - Medical Council, Communications Manager
Telephone: +353 1 4983173
Mobile: +353 87 913 0288
Email: lfarren@mcirl.ie