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Medical Council Publishes 2013 Annual Report

One in ten young doctors exited the Irish medical register last year

The Medical Council today (31st July 2014) published its annual report for 2013.  The current Medical Council commenced its five year term in June 2013, and the report highlights achievements during the year. 

Reflecting on the first year of its term, Prof Freddie Wood, President of the Council said:  “The annual report for 2013 highlights the significant level of activity in all aspects of our regulatory role, from managing the register of doctors, to education and training to the investigation of complaints.  When a patient visits their doctor, the outcome is always the most important thing.  Similarly for us as a regulator, we should rightly be judged on our achievements, and this report marks the start of an ambitious programme of work for us to enhance patient safety.”    

The impact of the departure of young doctors from the medical register was emphasised by the Council. The Annual Report highlights its work in quality assuring medical education at undergraduate, intern and postgraduate level.  Newly qualified doctors are meanwhile leaving Ireland in high numbers.  Preliminary data from the Council’s forthcoming report on the medical workforce shows that 10% of doctors aged 25-29 chose to leave the medical register in 2013.  The Council has this year undertaken the first ever national trainee experience survey, to measure views on issues such as career intentions, the learning environment, health and wellbeing and emigration.   

Medical Council CEO, Ms Caroline Spillane said: “Our report for 2013 highlights our work in developing doctors so that they are trained to the highest possible standard.  Against that backdrop, one in ten young doctors last year made the choice to exit the Irish medical register.  Our resources are constantly focused on developing doctors and then trying to replace them, as we screen new applicants to the medical register.   We all recognise the need to keep talented doctors within the Irish health service and there needs to be a continued system-wide focus on making sure the working environment in Ireland encourages the best and brightest doctors to practise here.”

Other noteworthy points from the annual report include:

  • During the year, 1,575 new doctors registered with the Medical Council for the first time.  The first “Medical Workforce Intelligence Report” was published by the Council, providing detailed information to support medical manpower planning.  The second such report will be published in August this year.
  • There were 18,160 doctors registered with the Medical Council, entitling them to practise medicine in Ireland.  
  • By the end of 2013, 12 of 13 postgraduate medical training bodies had been formally assessed and approved.
  • 400 complaints about doctors were received in 2013.  
  • The Council’s website received over 500,000 visits and there were 250,000 online searches of the medical register, verifying doctors’ registration status and qualifications.