Medical Council Sanctions

The Medical Council, following receipt of a Fitness to Practise Committee report in which any allegation against the doctor is found proven, must decide by law one or more sanctions to be imposed on the doctor. Each sanction is set out below, together with the factors that may be considered prior to recommending or imposing one or more sanction.

An advice or admonishment or censure in writing

The Medical Council may decide to impose one or more of the sliding scale of the sanctions of advice, admonishment or censure in writing. These sanctions convey the disapproval of the Medical Council regarding the allegations which have been proven against the doctor. The Medical Council may decide to advise a doctor in a particular respect i.e. that he shall in future ensure that appropriate patient records are maintained.

A censure in writing and a fine not exceeding €5,000

The factors that may be considered by the Medical Council in deciding what fine to impose on a doctor may include the nature of the allegations found proven and the means of the doctor. For the avoidance of doubt, fines against a registered practitioner are not imposed for the purpose of compensating a complainant/injured party.

The attachment of conditions to the doctor’s registration, including restrictions on the practice of medicine that may be engaged in by the doctor

In such circumstances the doctor is entitled to continue to work but must comply with the conditions imposed. The nature of the conditions imposed will vary from case to case.
The Medical Council has prepared a conditions bank from which templates can be used or adapted as appropriate. This conditions bank appears at Appendix 1 to this guidance document.

The transfer of the doctor’s registration to another division of the register

The Medical Council may impose this sanction where it is of the opinion that it is incompatible with the practice of medicine for the doctor to engage in a specialized form of medicine and that doctor should instead be restricted to a more general area of medicine. A doctot is entitled in the future to make an application for restoration to the previous division of the register.

The suspension of the doctor’s registration for a specified period

Suspension is likely to be imposed for events that that are serious but are not serious enough to merit cancellation of the doctor's registration. Suspension may be appropriate in cases where the Medical Council is of the view that a period of rehabilitation/retraining on the part of the doctor would be appropriate before he engages in the practice of medicine. Where the Medical Council imposes suspension on a doctor, the Medical Council will impose a suspension for a specified period.

The cancellation of the doctor’s registration

Cancellation of a doctor’s registration is obviously the most serious sanction that can be recommended or imposed on a doctor. The sanction of cancellation may be imposed where the Medical Council is of the opinion that the allegations proven are incompatible with being a registered doctor.

 Professional misconduct arising from findings of disgraceful or dishonourable behaviour may result in cancellation of registration in the following circumstances:

a) Dishonest/fraudulent behaviour regarding professional practice i.e. falsifying records
b) Abuse of patients
c) Inappropriate sexual relations
d) Certain criminal behaviour

Professional misconduct arising from a breach of the “expected conduct” standard may result in cancellation of registration in the following circumstances:

a) Reckless and wilfully unskilled practice
b) Breach of confidentiality
c) Inappropriate prescribing
d) Breach of conditions or undertaking to the Medical Council

The prohibition from applying for a specified period for the restoration of the doctor’s registration.

The Medical Council may determine that a doctor should not apply for restoration for a specified period. That period will be determined based on the nature of the allegations proven against the doctor and the circumstances surrounding the event.