Medical Council News


Health Committee

The primary role of the Medical Council’s Health Committee is to support the maintenance of registration and the monitoring of doctors who present with health matters.  Doctors are supported to remain in practice once there is no risk to themselves or to the public.  Doctors attending the health committee most typically are supported with addiction and mental health issues but assistance can be provided for a range of issues. The Committee is comprised of both medical personnel (primarily GPs and psychiatrists) and non-medical members, who are involved in the healthcare/ medical sector.

The referral pathways to the Health Committee are:  

  • An undertaking by a doctor to the Fitness to Practise Committee  
  • The Medical Council by direct referral or sanction  
  • Self- Referral, where the doctor refers himself/herself to the Health Committee for support, or  
  • Referral by a third party, where a colleague or a Hospital, for instance, refers a doctor for support to the Health Committee.

When a doctor comes to the attention of the Committee via one of the referral pathways, they will be asked to give consent to enable the Committee to take up relevant medical reports. Medical reports are constructed by an appropriate source (GP, treating practitioner) setting out the reasons for the referral and any potential risks that the doctor may pose to themselves or others. This allows the committee to determine whether the health committee is the appropriate Council structure to deal with the doctor and to provide a background to any assessment that may take place.

The Committee does not provide treatment or take on the responsibility of a patient / doctor but rather monitors a doctor’s compliance with treatment provided in an appropriate healthcare environment. On receipt of reports and a remedial plan from the doctor’s own consulting physician, members of the Committee will meet with the doctor to discuss the plan and on-going compliance. 

A doctor under the aegis of the Health Committee will continue to be supported until such time as the Committee agrees to discharge the practitioner. Ordinarily such support will continue for no less than two years to ensure their recovery and compliance with the treatment provided.

Arising from review sessions between members of the Committee and the doctor, recommendations are then outlined and considered by the Committee on the actions to be completed. Recommendations are made on a case by case basis and can include any of the following:

  • Seeking an undertaking from the doctor, (to include if it is in the doctor’s and the public interest), that he/she not engage in the practise of medicine.  
  • Seeking further medical reports on the doctor’s condition;  
  • Releasing the doctor from the Committee’s services;  
  • On-going monitoring of the doctor’s health;  
  • Engaging in a more supportive occupational environment;  
  • Further training, engagement in continuing medical education or up-skilling;
  • Referral to the Medical Council with a recommendation that the Council considers a referral to the Preliminary Proceedings Committee.

More information pertaining to our health committee is available here.