Medical Council News


Minister White Launches Medical Council Strategy 2014 - 2018

New research finds that 94% of people are satisfied with their experience of doctors – but highlights the need to build workplace settings for doctors that support good professional practice

Mr. Alex White T.D., Minister of State for Primary Care, today (4th March 2014), launched the Medical Council’s Statement of Strategy for 2014-2018. The strategy sets the direction for the organisation over the next five years, including six core objectives which will be addressed.

Speaking at the launch in Dublin Castle today, Minister White said: “Leadership which puts patient safety first is essential in a changing health system. It’s welcome to see such a focus on leadership, measurement and outcomes in the work of the Council and the profession it regulates. This will ensure the appropriate accountability and transparency necessary to maintain confidence as it delivers on its objectives. Better analysis by regulators of information relating to complaints is a component of the government’s Future Health policy and the Council’s objective to enhance complaints procedures through formal frameworks and information sharing will support our programme of system reform.”

The strategy was informed by the views of approximately 1,000 members of the public, 700 doctors and over 40 partner organisations. Speaking about the themes emerging from this process, Professor Freddie Wood, President of the Medical Council, said: “One of the key issues emerging from our research and discussions was the need for leadership in putting agreed values for good professional practice consistently into action. Through the implementation of this strategy, we aim to create a vision for patient safety in Ireland that resonates with the public, doctors and partner organisations. Our ambition is that through implementation of this strategy we will inspire others to look to us for leadership and to work with us in pursuing our shared ambition for a strong patient-doctor relationship.”

The Council also published new research on the views of the public and of doctors on what it means to be good doctor in Ireland. The report, “Talking about good professional practice”, found high levels of trust in doctors from members of the public, with over 90% of patients satisfied with the level of care they received from their doctor. There was broad agreement among the public and doctors on issues such as the importance of confidentiality, shared decision making and maintaining competence. There were, however, areas where the public and doctors may have differing expectations; including being honest about an error in care or raising concerns about patient safety. The report underlines the continuing need to focus on defining and embedding appropriate values throughout doctors’ professional lives; it also highlights the need to build workplace settings which enable doctors to put professional values into action.

Caroline Spillane, CEO of the Medical Council added: “Our role as regulator is to examine the views of the public we serve and the profession we regulate and then agree with them the course of action we believe will have the best effect in enhancing patient safety. The objectives we have set for the next five years aim to maintain the high levels of trust between patients and doctors and also to inform a system-wide, collaborative approach to addressing issues such as standards of good professional practice, open disclosure and the effective handling of concerns about patient safety.”

For further information about the report please contact:
Lorna Farren
Medical Council Communications Manager
0879130288/ 01 4983173