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Importance of Professional Competence

Based on feedback received from doctors, we will now be producing additional newsletters throughout the year, increasing our communication from quarterly to bi-monthly. This is to ensure our newsletter subscribers are up to date and kept informed of Medical Council operations and important notices ahead of time.

Here at the Medical Council, our Professional Competence audits are currently on-going as we look to confirm doctors’ compliance with their legal duty.

The Professional Competence scheme is a mechanism for doctors to continuously up skill and commit to lifelong learning, which is vital in an ever evolving and complex profession. In addition to having a professional responsibility, doctors are legally obliged to maintain their professional competence to drive good professional practice which is centred on patient safety and the quality of patient care.  Patients rightly expect that the doctor who treats them keeps their knowledge and skills up-to-date and our role is to confirm this is the case.

Noncompliance with the scheme may see doctors referred to a Fitness to Practise Inquiry, and we have seen several of these in recent years, including this recent case study. This in our view is something which is easily avoidable and if doctors remain mindful of their duty to continuously improve, complaints and inquiries should not arise. It is a doctor’s personal responsibility to demonstrate that they are fulfilling their statutory duty, and we in turn must take action if this is being ignored.

The development of the professional competence system, and particularly arrangements for doctors in the general division is a priority for us in 2016.  We have been actively engaging with postgraduate training bodies, indemnifiers and employers with a view to looking at how our respective processes can ensure effective monitoring systems are in place.

The current year for professional competence requirements ends on April 30th, and we remind all members of the profession to make sure their activities are logged and recorded in advance of that deadline.

Doctors can also visit our website for more information on Professional Competence schemes.

Bill Prasifka,

Chief Executive