Medical Council News

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CEO Message - July 2017

To begin, I’d like to thank all the doctors who have completed their annual retention so far. It is a requirement for all doctors wanting to practice in Ireland to retain their registration with the Council, and they were encouraged to do so prior to 30th June, to avoid any late fee and the possibility of being removed from the register. Almost 90% of doctors have already completed their retention online, in numbers broadly similar to this time last year, where the same percentage of doctors completed the process in advance of the imposition of late payment fees and then ultimately a much smaller number of 600 doctors were removed from the register. This year we sent advice for retention of registration to over 21,000. This number reflects the growing size of the register which is at an all – time high.


In relation to our Professional Competency Schemes, we are working with the postgraduate training bodies to further improve enrolment rates. As stated previously, enrolment today is higher than previous years yet more work needs to be done. We will continue to work with the PGTBs in an effort to improve these numbers. In May’s edition of the newsletter, it was disclosed that our presentation on Professional Competence Schemes will be delivered at this year’s IAMRA conference in October. The presentation will focus on our increasing awareness around CPD and its importance in the career of medical practitioners. As a regulatory body, it’s imperative for us to ensure all doctors maintain their competence and keep up to date with training and medical advances. Doctors who ignore their CPD requirements have implications for patient safety.


The President and I attended the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) annual Conference in Exeter last week. ASME is the UK society for medical educationalists and the outgoing chair is our own Dr John Jenkins. This annual event was well attended by UK and international experts and keynote topics included selection processes for medical students, an exploration of why some students do not practice, and an outline of approaches to medical education in Malaysia. I found the breakout sessions on the auditing of PCS schemes, and case study approaches to educate students on Fitness to Practice to be particularly relevant to our work here.


In a recent interview with Eilish O’ Regan in the Irish Independent, I spoke of our wish to resolve complaints as quickly as possible in a manner that is satisfactory to the complainant while also protecting the public interest. The changes necessary to streamline the process require an amendment to our legislation which the President and I raised with the Minister of Health when we met a short while ago. In the interview, I was also able to highlight a few recurring themes, such as the well-being of our doctors and various initiatives from ourselves and our stakeholders which could improve the situation. Our work in this area is of continuing relevance given the ill – effects of working in an environment of high workloads and staff shortages which often show up in a range of reports and surveys.


As mentioned in our previous newsletter, our first set of accreditation visits took place back in early May. These site visits were directly attributable to the results of the Your Training Counts surveys conducted in the past. This year’s survey has now gone live to over 2,500 trainees. It is crucial that trainees participate in this survey so they can make a difference to their medical training experience. It is also our opportunity to speak directly to trainees in order to establish the strengths and weaknesses in specialist training and identify opportunities for improvement. We will be launching the Your Training Counts 2016 Report soon. This will be a retrospective report of findings over the last three years, which will guide us on how to further support the quality agenda for medical education.

With a number of impending reports due, including our Annual Report, as well as this year’s Your Training Counts survey going live to trainees, we will continue our quest to effectively plan, maintain and develop a medical workforce which is strong and sustainable so as to provide for the public’s health needs.