Medical Council News


New Research to Improve Induction for Doctors

Over 4,000 doctors asked to suggest areas for improvement

The Medical Council today (4th February, 2016) announced that it is to contact over 4,000 doctors to identify how registration and employment practices can better support doctors new to the Irish health system. 

Following a competitive tender process, University College Dublin’s (UCD’s) School of Medicine has been appointed to speak directly to new and recent entrants to medical practice in Ireland to find out what education and training they would have benefitted from when they first began work in the Irish health system. This information will then go on to inform the design of a registration support programme to be delivered by the Medical Council, which will be called Safe Start.  The project is also being developed to inform the work of employers on their own more detailed induction programmes and ongoing support of doctors who have qualified outside Ireland. 

Speaking about the new research project, CEO of the Medical Council, Bill Prasifka said: “Recent years have seen rising numbers of doctors entering the practice of medicine in Ireland for the first time.  Entering practice in a new health system for the first time is clearly very challenging, even if you were educated here, and in our research, a number of doctors have highlighted deficits in induction which can lead to them feeling unprepared.  While our role in induction is limited, it’s important that we use our regulatory remit to support doctors new to practice.”      

A questionnaire will shortly be sent to over 4,000 doctors who recently entered medical practice in Ireland and the UCD medical education research team will also conduct face to face interviews with a sample of doctors to explore issues raised in detail.   

Mr Prasifka added: “Every health system is different, and some of these differences, for example the way in which doctors relate to patients and their families or how they work with other healthcare professionals can be subtle but hugely important.  Doctors who are new to medical practice in Ireland must be given the necessary support which enables them to adapt to the culture within the working environment here in Ireland.  The Medical Council is interested in playing our part in providing this support, and the research project announced today will inform our role, but a comprehensive response to the needs of new doctors will also require the HSE, independent healthcare providers, locum agencies and training organisations to take greater action, and I look forward to the discussion which will follow this research.” Director of Clinical Education in UCD, Dr Suzanne Donnelly said: “The UCD medical education research team is delighted to have been selected to conduct an educational needs analysis for doctors commencing practice in Ireland on behalf of the Medical Council. The Safe Start programme is an important educational initiative which will have a direct impact on the quality of medical care experienced by patients in Ireland, and we look forward to leading the research that will underpin it.” The research will be conducted over the coming months and a full report will be published by the Medical Council in due course.


Notes for Editors.

The principal functions of the Medical Council are to: establish and maintain the register of medical practitioners; set and monitor standards for education and training; and respond to concerns about doctors.