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Statistics 2010

Complaints Considered by the Preliminary Proceedings Committee in 2010

Number and Type of Complaints Received by Preliminary Proceedings Committee in 2010

Categories of Complaint No. of Complaints Received 2010
A. ALCOHOL / DRUG ABUSE / IRRESPONSIBLE PRESCRIBINThis relates to a complaint against a doctor who may have an alcohol or drug addiction or may have prescribed medication in a manner which was irresponsible. 10
B. DEPUTISING ARRANGEMENTS This relates to a complaint where a doctor may not have put in place adequate arrangements to cover his or her absence. 0
C. TREATMENT This relates to a complaint against a doctor, who may have afforded inappropriate or inadequate treatment for a patient’s condition. 86
D. PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS This relates to any complaints primarily relating to breaches of section 2 of the Medical Council’s Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics. 160
E. RESPONSIBILITY TO COLLEAGUES This relates to complaints whereby a doctor may have reneged on an understanding with colleagues, which would result in a risk to patient safety. It also relates to paragraphs 45, 46 and 47 of the Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics. An example of a complaint in this category would be if a doctor delegates a task to a doctor in training, but fails to take responsibility for making sure the task is carried out safely and competently by the doctor in training. 0
F. FAILURE TO ATTEND This relates to situations whereby the doctor does not attend to a patient. 12
G. FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE / RUDENESS This relates to situations whereby a doctor has not demonstrated effective interpersonal skills, which would enable the exchange of information, and allow for effective collaboration with patients, their families and also with clinical and non-clinical colleagues and the broader public. 30
H. FAILURE TO SUPPLY MEDICAL RECORDS / REPORTS This relates to a complaint about a doctor, who may have failed/refused to provide a patient with their medical records or a complaint against a doctor who may have refused to provide medical information (normally with the patient’s knowledge and agreement) to another doctor when requested. It also relates to the provision of reports to solicitors, insurance companies or employers in relation to a patient the doctor may have seen or treated professionally. 22
I. CERTIFICATION This includes complaints against doctors, who may have issued inaccurate and/or illegible certificates, reports, prescriptions or other formal documents. A doctor’s Medical Council Registration Number must also be included on any formal documentation issued by them. Normally, a doctor should only sign a certificate or other such prescription, report or document for a patient following a review of the patient’s condition. An example of a complaint of this nature would be where a doctor refuses to provide a patient with a certificate or whereby an employer makes a complaint against a doctor about the length of certified sick leave. 3
J. OTHER COMPLAINTS CONSIDERED This relates to complaints that do not fall into the other categories of complaint. Examples of complaints, which fall into this category, include complaints relating to a doctor’s fees or level of professional indemnity insurance. 32
K. ADVERTISING This relates to complaints regarding the advertising of the services of a doctor in a manner which is inappropriate or misleading. An example of such a complaint would be where a doctor describes himself/herself as a consultant or specialist, when he or she has not obtained the relevant qualification as approved by the Medical Council and is not registered on the Specialist Division of the Medical Council Register. 1
L. CONVICTIONS This relates to complaints where a doctor has received a court conviction. 2
M. PHYSICAL / MENTAL DISABILITY This relates to complaints whereby a doctor may have physical or mental disability, which may impair his or her ability to practice and which may put patients at risk. 1
P. COMPLAINTS UNSPECIFIED / RMP UNIDENTIFIED This relates to complaints which have not yet been officially opened by the Medical Council as more information is being sought. 2
TOTAL 361

Prima Facie (PF) Decisions

 In 2010, the Preliminary Proceedings Committee of the Medical Council made 54 Prima Facie decisions on foot of complaints made about doctors. In making a Prima Facie decision, the Committee reviews information it has gathered relating to the complaint and on the face of that information it decides whether or not there is evidence of professional misconduct or poor professional performance. If this Committee is of the view that such evidence exists, it refers the case to the Medical Council’s Fitness to Practise Committee for an inquiry.

  Comparison of Decisions Made – 2008, 2009 & 2010

DECISION NUMBER PERCENTAGE
  2008 2009 2010 2008 2009 2010
Prima Facie Decision (Inquiry called) 29 31 54 9% 13% 17%
No Prima Facie Decision (No Case) 294 207 264 91% 87% 83%

Bar Chart Reflecting the Above Information:

Prima Facie Decisions 2010

Complaints Received and Complaints Considered by the Preliminary Proceedings Committee in 2010

Category Complaints Receievd in 2010 Total Number Decisions Made 2010* Of Which 2010 Complaints 2010 Complaints Carried over to 2011 PF Case (inquiry)decisions in 2010 No PF case decisions in 2010
A 10 9 5 5 4 5
B 0 0 0 0 0 0
C 86 84 44 42 13 71
D 160 120 77 83 29 91
E 0 1 0 0 1 0
F 12 17 10 2 1 16
G 30 32 19 11 1 31
H 22 21 14 8 1 20
I 3 2 1 2 0 2
J 32 22 14 18 0 22
K 1 2 1 0 0 2
L 2 1 0 2 0 1
M 1 2 1 0 2 0
P 2 5 2 0 2 3
Total 361 318 188 173 54 264

*Includes decisions made with regard to complaints carried over from previous years

 

 Number of Complaints Received 2001-2010

The number of complaints against doctors received by the Medical Council increased in recent years, possibly reflecting increased public expectations of doctors and greater awareness of the role of the Medical Council.

Complaints Received 2001-2010

Complaints Against Doctors in Ireland & the UK

A doctor is more likely to have a complaint made against him or her now than ten years ago. However, people in Ireland are less likely to complain about a doctor than people in the UK.

Year Ireland UK*
2001 1.48% 2.19%
2005 1.79% 2.08%
2008 1.79% 2.10%
2009 1.62% 2.50%
2010 1.92% N/A

Source: General Medical Council - http://www.gmc-uk.org/

 

Breakdown of Complaints Against Doctors by Division

CATEGORY OF DOCTOR Number Percentage
General Division 160 41.66%
Specialist Division 212 55.21%
Trainee Specialist Division 12 3.13%
Total No. of doctors about whom complaints were made in 2010 384 100%

*Please note:- some complaints concern more than one doctor

Complaints By Division

Inquiries Held in 2010

  1978 Act 2007 Act TOTAL
Completed 2 41 43
Adjourned 1 2 3
Pending (as at 31/12/10) 1 32 33
No. of Inquiry Days 2 92 94

 

Comparison of inquiries between 2009 & 2010

Inq comp

Outcomes of Inquiries in 2010

  1978 Act 2007 Act Total
Guilty of Professional Misconduct 1 18 19
Unfit to engage in practice of medicine/ Guilty relevant medical disability (RMD) 0 2 (RMD) 2
Poor Professional Performance N/A 4 4
Not Guilty / Fit to engage in practice of medicine / no case 1 5 6
No finding but sanction imposed pursuant to S. 47 and S. 48 0 N/A 0
Undertaking pursuant to S. 67 N/A 11 11
Struck out N/A 4 4

 

Breakdown of inquiry outcomes:

Inquiry Outcomes 2010

Sanctions Imposed in 2010

  1978 ACT 2007 ACT TOTAL
Erasure (1978 Act / Cancellation of registration (2007 Act) 0 2 2
Conditions 1 9 10
Suspension 0 3 3
Advise / Admonish / Censure 1 13 14
No sanction imposed 0 0 0
Total 2 27 29

 

Inquiries Completed 2001 – 2010

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
13 24 25 23 24 19 22 23 25 43

 

Inquiries Completed 2001-2010

Average Number of Days per Inquiry 2001-2010

Year Average No. of days per inquiry
2001 5
2005 1.48
2008 2.33
2010 2.18

 

 

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