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Medical Council reminds doctors of professional competence requirements and audit procedures

Medical Council reminds doctors of professional competence requirements and audit procedures

The Medical Council today (13th March, 2012) issued a reminder to doctors about their legal duty to maintain their professional competence to ensure that doctors are prepared for the next steps as they complete their first year of activities. On 1st May 2011, a new statutory duty for doctors to enrol in a professional competence scheme and engage in lifelong learning and practice development activities was introduced.

April 30th 2012 marks the end of the first 12-month period of professional competence activities and, following this, the Medical Council will commence monitoring and audit activities to ensure that doctors are observing their legal duty to maintain professional competence.

President of the Medical Council, Professor Kieran Murphy said: "The formalisation of professional competence requirements places on a statutory footing, practices which doctors have engaged in on a voluntary basis for many years. By actively embracing a system that focuses on quality of practice, doctors demonstrate both high standards of professionalism and a continuing commitment to the safety of patients".

Doctors are aware of their legal duty to maintain professional competence and research conducted in late 2011 found that 96% of doctors agreed that professional competence activities benefited both themselves and their patients. At the time, while 91% of doctors were confident that they would be able to fulfil new professional competence requirements, 20% were still not aware of the amounts and types of activities they were required to undertake. Although the Medical Council has subsequently issued further advice to all doctors on the maintenance of professional competence, it is imperative for doctors to now make certain that they are fully informed about professional competence requirements.

Professor Murphy added: "The Medical Council is aware that the formalisation of professional competence requirements represents a step change for doctors and support is available from both the Council and the relevant postgraduate training body to assist doctors in fulfilling their professional competence requirements. The Council is contacting all doctors as they complete their first year of activities to ensure they remain aware of their legal and professional responsibilities to maintain professional competence and are fully prepared for the monitoring and audit activities that will commence later this year."

By activating monitoring and audit processes, to ensure the system is working effectively, the Medical Council safeguards the trust between patients and doctors and ensures the confidence and safety of patients.

"It is critical that doctors understand that a failure to meet professional competence requirements could result in a range of sanctions, including prohibitions on their right to practise. In addition, as part of the registration renewal process, all doctors will now be required to confirm to the Medical Council that they are fulfilling professional competence requirements", concluded Professor Murphy.

Ends.

 

For further information, contact:
Lorna Farren
Medical Council Communications Manager
Direct Dial: 01-4983173
Mobile: 087 913 0288
Email: lfarren@mcirl.ie

Notes to Editors