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Consultation Process Begins for New Medical Council Annual Retention Rules

Under Draft Rules, retention fees to remain unchanged, late payment fees to be introduced

In accordance with the provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, the Medical Council today (26th April, 2012) began the consultation process for the development of new rules for its annual retention process.The proposed rules clarify doctors’obligation to submit a valid application and pay the annual retention fee by the annual renewal date (1stJuly) so as to continue to practise medicine in Ireland. 

The new rules are designed to strengthen and streamline Council’s existing registration retention processes.  This also enables more efficient interaction with doctors, thereby controlling  the significant administrative costs incurred by the Council each year.   Under the draft rules:

  • The annual retention fee would remain unchanged for 2012-2013 at €490. 
  • Late payment fees would be introduced, imposing a €50penalty on those who fail to pay their retention fee on time. 
  • All doctors will be required to complete an application form in addition to the payment of the fee through which they will provide short and straightforward information about continuing practice, and also provide a declaration that they are maintaining their professional competence in line with Medical Council requirements.  (This formalises existing requirements for the completion of the submission of the annual declaration.)
  • Any doctor who does not submit a valid application on or before 30th June, in addition to incurring a late payment fee willrisk being ultimately removed from the register or be the subject of a complaint by the Medical Council on the basis of having failed to apply to retain registration.

Speaking today, President of the Medical Council, Professor Kieran Murphy said:
"The Council is committed to ensuring that its fee system is fair and has worked to minimise the financial impacton doctors by not raising the annual retention fee for the last number of years.  The Council’s role and functions have expanded significantly arising from the 2007 Medical Practitioners Act.  Toensuresustainability it is imperative that doctors interactwith the Council in a timely, efficient and effective manner by making an application for registration retention on time and in the correct manner.  These proposals are part of a drive by the Council to strengthen and streamline its annual retention processes and to keep the annual retention fee unchanged for the coming year."

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.

In 2011, just 55% of doctors paid their annual retention fee by the 30th June deadline, and the Council incurred significant administrative costs in issuing reminders and processing fees past the deadline date.  The current fee structure, which does not include a penalty for late payment, means that fees collected from doctors who interact with the Medical Council in a timely, efficient and effective manner are diverted from core functions to following up with doctors who do not present fees on time.  The Council facilitates the immediate payment of fees through its online payment facility and will this year launch an online portal for doctors to make it easier for doctors to manage interactions with the Council such as online payments, submission of forms and requesting certificates.

Chief Executive of the Medical Council, Caroline Spillane, added:

“Reviews of our fees and processes have highlighted the fact that the Council is investing significant resources in those who fail to pay fees on time or fail to submit completed applications to the Council.  In keeping with the approach taken by many other professional regulators, a late payment fee is proposed to encourage on-time payment and to ensure that those who pay their fees on-time are no longer subsidising those who don’t.  The Council is making every effort to reduce its administrative costs, but in the face of significant financial challenges, the support of the profession is needed to ensure that the Council is enabled to improve its processes and become more efficient in its work.” 

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 Thursday, 10th May 2012.

Feedback can be submitted:

Ends.

 

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