Medical Council News


Professional Competence - Your next steps at a glance

In May 2011, Professional Competence requirements were introduced which place a legal duty on doctors to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date throughout their professional lives.

The introduction of these requirements formalises what doctors have always recognised as a professional responsibility and places what was previously a voluntary practice on a legal basis.  Doctors appreciate that lifelong learning benefits both themselves and their patients and both patients and doctors are supportive of  these new procedures.

April 30th 2012 will mark the completion of the first 12 month period of professional competence activities for all doctors. It provides useful updates on the activities doctors engage in to maintain their professional competence.  Some information on clinical audit has been contributed by Dr Ian Callanan and Dr David O’Keeffe shares his own experience of the first year of professional competence.

The Medical Council also corresponded with all doctors reminding them that the first 12-month period of professional competence is drawing to a close and including some useful further information on the next steps which will follow. 

•April 30th 2012 marks the completion of the first 12-month period of your legal duty to maintain your professional competence.

•The Medical Council is commencing monitoring and audit procedures to satisfy itself that you are fulfilling your legal duty.

•To safeguard your continuing registration and avoid risk of disciplinary action, take time now to ensure you are prepared.

•From May 2012, you will receive a Statement of Participation from your professional competence scheme. This is evidence that you are fulfilling your legal duty to maintain your professional competence so retain this document   carefully and safely.

•In June 2012, when you retain registration with the Medical Council, you will be required to declare that you are maintaining professional competence. Failure to make this declaration will place your continuing registration at risk.

•Thereafter, the Medical Council will audit doctors to confirm enrolment in professional competence schemes and engagement in activities. When audited, you will be required to provide the Statement of Participation which you received from your professional competence scheme.

•Employers and patients can request sight of your Statement of Participation so as to confirm you are keeping up-to-date.

•There are special arrangements for doctors in recognised training posts and doctors practising overseas – see

•Maintaining your professional competence is your legal duty. Observing this legal duty is essential to ensure your continuing registration with the Medical Council.