Medical Council News


Talking About Good Professional Practice

Along with our Statement of Strategy 2014 - 2018 the Council this week 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.  This highlights the need for for  a system wide, integrated approach to effective complaints handling to ensure confidence at all levels that concerns about doctors will be effectively addressed.  One of our areas of focus within the strategy is on developing a framework for complaints handling with employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors to ensure that concerns about doctors are properly addressed at the appropriate level within the health system. 

The report also underlines the continuing need to focus on defining and embedding appropriate values throughout doctors’ professional lives; it also highlights the need to build workplace setting which enable doctors to put professional values into action.  Collaboration with partners, including the Department of Health, HSE, independent hospitals and postgraduate medical training bodies will be important to achieve this aim.

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.