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Medical Council Launches 2010 Annual Report

Medical Council Approves Rules for Registration in New Supervised Division

Wednesday 20th July 2011: Speaking today at the launch of the Medical Council’s 2010 Annual Report, President Professor Kieran Murphy confirmed that registration rules for entry to the Supervised Division of the medical register were approved by the Council.

The new Supervised Division was established following the signing into law of the The Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Act, 2011 and the finalisation of the rules follows a week-long period of public consultation.  The new rules specify the standards which must be met by doctors who will practise in hospital settings approved by the Medical Council and who will be restricted to working in supervised posts for a cumulative total of two years or less. 

Professor Murphy said that “The Medical Council’s consultation process has highlighted that both the profession and the public expect that robust registration systems are in place to protect the public by ensuring that doctors have the necessary education, training and competence to work safely in Ireland. These new registration rules outline the standards which must be met by doctors entering the new Supervised Division of the register and underpin the role of both the Medical Council and the HSE in ensuring that doctors entering our health system in supervised posts are fit to practise here.” 

Under the rules, registration to the new Supervised Division will be contingent upon:

  • The HSE submitting a declaration for each doctor, outlining the nature of the post, the duties the doctor will be charged with and the supervisory arrangements which will be in place
  • The doctor completing a Level One assessment process, which will verify their qualifications  and also confirm that they have not been subject to disciplinary proceedings in any jurisdiction where they previously practised
  • The doctor passing a Level Two examination measuring competence in the areas of clinical judgement, communication and data interpretation

Content for Level Two examinations is currently being developed by the Medical Council with support from medical schools and postgraduate medical training bodies, and examinations for seven specialties will be held from the start of August.

Professor Murphy was speaking today at the launch of the Medical Council’s 2010 Annual Report. He said that “There were a number of significant changes in 2010 in both the regulation of medicine in Ireland and in how the Medical Council carries out its business. The commencement in May of Part 11 of the Medical Practitioners Act, providing a statutory framework for doctors to maintain their professional competence, marked an important milestone for the medical profession and for patients and will help to maintain and build trust between patients and doctors.”

The Council had a total of 18,770 doctors on its register in December 2010.

361 complaints were received by the Council in 2010, a 22% increase on 2009. CEO of the Medical Council, Caroline Spillane said that the Council expects this number to increase in the coming years as it undertakes extensive communications activities to make the public more aware of its role and processes.

“It is important that both the public and the profession are confident in the transparency, robustness and fairness of Council’s processes. In addition, our systems must be accessible to the public to ensure that they are encouraged to highlight any perceived shortfall in the standard of care they receive”.  Ms Spillane said.

In 2010, the Preliminary Proceedings Committee made 54 prima facie decisions, referring cases to the Fitness to Practise Committee for an inquiry, an increase of 23 compared with 2009. 

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 1 498 3173
Mobile: +353 87 913 0288
Email: lfarren@mcirl.ie

Note for Editors:

  1. Copies of the Medical Council’s 2010 Annual Report are available on request or at www.medicalcouncil.ie
  2. Annual Report Highlights:
  • In July, the Council approved its Statement of Strategy for 2010-2013. This outlines the Council’s vision, mission and values in addition to its strategic objectives for the next three years.
  • The Council’s new CEO Caroline Spillane took office at the end of September 2010
  • A number of inspections of training sites were undertaken
  • Standards were set to facilitate the review and accreditation of postgraduate programmes and bodies.
  • The process the Council uses for setting and monitoring standards for basic medical education was benchmarked against the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation standards (NCFMEA) USA, standards. The processes were found to compare favourably.
  • The principles and values of good medical practice were categorised into the Eight Domains of Good Professional Practice and introduced onto the basic medical qualification curriculum.
  • The required standards and guidelines for granting Certificate of Experience for interns were published.
  • Ethical standards and behaviour for students were published.
  • A new Guide to Registration was developed
  • Commencement of Part 11 of Medical Practitioners Act 2007