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The Medical Council Looks Ahead to 2012

Reflecting the commitment of the Medical Council to be open and transparent to the public and the profession, I am pleased to publish the Council’s Business Plan for 2012.

A more vigorous focus on patient safety across the health system and in society has placed a greater emphasis on regulation and since the introduction of the 2007 Medical Practitioners Act the Medical Council’s role has been expanded. This has increased the Medical Council’s workload quite significantly which means that efficient business planning is critical.

This business plan gives the public and the profession an overview of our planned activity for 2012. This activity is designed to achieve the Council’s strategic objectives:

            1. Set and monitor standards for medical education, training, conduct and ethics

            2. Facilitate doctors in attaining and maintaining their registration

            3. Set and monitor standards for maintenance of professional competence

            4. Take appropriate action to protect the public where standards are not met by individual practitioners

            5. Engage proactively with the public, the profession and other stakeholders

            6. Enable effectiveness through appropriate internal systems and processes

As with 2011, this will be a busy year for the Medical Council. April 30th 2012 marks the end of the first 12-month period of professional competence activities and, following this, monitoring and audit activities will commence to ensure that doctors are observing their legal duty to maintain professional competence. New performance procedures are also being rolled out.

Reflecting the trend over the past number of years, we also anticipate an increase in the number of complaints and inquiries. The Council will continue to ensure that the complaints process is effective, fair and transparent.

As with all statutory bodies, the Council will place a renewed effort in 2012 on financial control. This builds on cost saving initiatives undertaken in 2011 and the Council will remain focused on improving processes and delivering efficiencies throughout the organisation.

The Council is committed to delivering expanded functions while minimising the financial impact on its registrants.   We will maximise the use of resources, provide the best value for money and work with the relevant statutory bodies to reduce costs through collaborative working.  As outlined in the business plan, a review of the Medical Council's fee structure is currently underway, with a view to making improvements which are fair, transparent and respond to the business needs of the organisation.

The Council’s primary role is to protect patients while supporting doctors and our business plan provides the blueprint to help us to achieve this aim in 2012.  We look forward to working collaboratively with the public, the profession and relevant individuals and organisations throughout the health service to optimise our processes and play a key role within the Irish health system.