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Medical Council Annual Report 2011 Launched

Annual report highlights:

  • There were 18,812 doctors registered with the Medical Council in 2011, with qualifications from over 90 countries around the world, allowing them to practise medicine in Ireland. 
  • The Medical Council evaluated all nine programmes of basic medical education (five direct-entry and four graduate-entry) in Ireland in 2011, while the 38 clinical sites in the State where interns receive training were also inspected.
  • The Council’s Preliminary Proceedings Committee made 367 decisions on foot of complaints received in 2011, an increase from 314 in the previous year.

The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, today (13th June 2012) launched the Medical Council’s 2011 Annual Report.  The report outlines the work of the Council in 2011 in protecting patients and supporting doctors to provide care which is safe and clinically sound. 

Speaking at the launch, Minister Reilly said: “The focus of all organisations within the health system must be first and foremost on protecting patients.  With the introduction of professional competence requirements for all practising doctors allied with work in registration, education and professional conduct, the Council’s regulatory oversight of doctors has increased, which will benefit patients and contribute to improvements in patient safety across the health system.”

Professional competence requirements for all practising doctors were introduced in 2011. It is now a legal requirement for all doctors to engage in formal lifelong learning, and provide confirmation of that to the Medical Council, in order to retain their registration.  

Speaking at the launch Professor Kieran Murphy, President of the Medical Council, said that: “2011 saw a number of advancements in the Medical Council’s regulation of doctors with a focus on professional competence and performance assessment, along with an increased emphasis on our engagement with the profession and the public”.

President Murphy highlighted the introduction of professional competence requirements saying:

“The introduction of professional competence requirements is an important development in the regulatory role of the Medical Council.  Previously the Council’s interaction with qualified doctors was largely focused on retaining registration and complaints handling, we are now overseeing a doctor’s education from the day they enter medical school until the day they retire from the register”.

Professor Murphy reminded doctors that as part of this year’s process for retaining registration, they must confirm they are maintaining their professional competence and that the Council will soon begin auditing doctors to both ensure their compliance and also give patients confidence in this system.

Other key highlights from the annual report include:

  • Approximately 500 doctors, of 17 different nationalities, who qualified outside the European Union/ European Economic Area, sat Medical Council pre-registration clinical examinations in 2011, which measured their fitness to practise in Ireland. 
  • The Medical Council’s ‘Check the Register’ facility was accessed over 200,000 times in 2011, by users verifying the qualifications and good standing of doctors.  The website attracted over 450,000 visits during the year. 
  • Performance procedures were developed, allowing for a targeted response to concerns about a doctor’s ongoing performance.  These procedures became operational at the start of 2012 and a team of independent assessors (comprised of two medics and one patient representative) can now conduct on-site assessments of a doctor’s practice. 

The Medical Council’s Annual Report is an online publication and includes video introductions to the report as well as interactive maps and graphs to illustrate the work of the Council.

CEO of the Medical Council, Ms Caroline Spillane added: “For our work to have a real impact we need to be involved in constant engagement with the public, the medical profession and others with the wider health system to ensure we are responsive and effective in our regulatory role. Our website medicalcouncil.ie received nearly half a million visits last year and our Check the Register facility was used over 200,000 times by people seeking to verify the credentials of their doctor”.

 

Ends.