Medical Council News

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CEO Message

Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter. It has been a busy few months for the Medical Council since our last newsletter. 

In early autumn we launched the findings of the 2016 Your Training Counts survey. Your Training Counts, the annual national trainee experience survey, is designed and delivered by the Medical Council, which aims to inform and support the continuous improvement of the quality of postgraduate medical training in Ireland. Your Training Counts gives trainees' a platform to provide anonymous feedback surrounding their training post, training school, trainer/trainee relationship as well as their own health and career intentions. These trainee views inform and enable the Medical Council to determine how training is carried out, how we measure against other EU countries, to acknowledge achievements and strengths in the training and educational environment and identify areas that need improving. In this edition of the newsletter member of the Medical Council, Dr Audrey Dillon talks about the findings of the 2016 survey. The 2017 Your Training Counts survey is now live and I would encourage all trainees to take part before the deadline at the end of the month. 

In a previous edition of our newsletter, we highlighted that we have been working in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) in developing a guidance on issues of joint concern to both medical practitioners and pharmacists. The ‘Safe Prescribing and Dispensing of Controlled Drugs’ guidance document was launched recently and will prove invaluable for both doctors and pharmacists. The Medical Council is committed to working with our colleagues in other regulators to ensure our mutual roles of enhancing patient safety is achieved. Speaking about this important collaboration recently at the National Patient Safety Office Conference in Dublin Castle, Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, said “An example of health regulators working together to improve patient safety is the Medical Council and PSI who recently launched joint guidance, entitled ‘Safe Prescribing and Dispensing of Controlled Drugs’, for doctors and pharmacists, which is a collaborative practical resource to safer prescribing and dispensing of controlled drugs, encouraging and supporting best practice for enhancing patient safety.” The guidance document is available here. 

Simon Harris with Dr Anthony Breslin & Janet O'Farrell

The final steps in the annual retention process took place in autumn when doctors who failed to pay their annual retention were removed from the register. Comparative to previous years, this percentage is slightly higher, given 2016 witnessed a 2.9% rate and 2015 a rate of 2.7% respectively.

We continue to engage with our stakeholders on a regular basis. Last month I had the opportunity to speak at Grand Rounds in St. James Hospital where I spoke about the role of the Medical Council and highlighted the importance of the Your Training Counts survey. I also got the chance to interact with those present and answer any questions they had. Tomorrow I will be travelling to Galway where I have been invited to speak at Grand Rounds in University Hospital Galway.

Recently we had information stands at this year’s Medical Careers Day, at the St. Luke’s Symposium at RCPI’s National Education Day for Doctors in Training and most recently at the National Patient Safety Office Conference in Dublin Castle. At these various events, Medical Council staff from across our departments were available to answer questions and discuss the work of the Council with the attendees of those events. Information leaflets and publications such as our Your Training Counts 2016 Report, our Patient Information booklet, ‘Safe Prescribing and Dispensing of Controlled Drugs’ guidance document and other publications were available for the attendees, all of which are available to download from our website.

Janet O' Farrell & PSI Poster

At the National Patient Safety Office Conference our poster entitled 'Protect & Inform; Enhancing the Culture of Patient Safety', as well as our joint poster with the PSI (as shown in the photograph above taken with Janet O' Farrell from the Medical Council and Conor O' Leary from the PSI) displaying information on our joint guidance on dispensing controlled drugs, were both selected to be showcased at the event. Also at the conference, our Vice President, Dr. Anthony Breslin and our Research Manager, Janet O’ Farrell briefly had the opportunity to discuss the ‘Safe Prescribing and Dispensing of Controlled Drugs’ guidance document with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD.

The Medical Council together with the Forum of Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies hosted a one-day Symposium, “Addressing the Challenge of Compliance in the Maintenance of Professional Competence (MPC)” in late October. The purpose of the Symposium was to facilitate discussion on how the Professional Competence Scheme model would be advanced in line with national and international best practice. It was well attended, with participants from Postgraduate Training Bodies, the Health Service Executive, indemnifiers and the Medical Council in attendance. More information on the symposium is included in this newsletter.

Another important change I would like to highlight is the commencement of the Medical Practitioner’s (Amendment) Act 2017. The Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, has signed the commencement order for The Medical Practitioner’s (Amendment) Act 2017, which came into effect on Monday, November 6th, 2017. This Act amends the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 and outlines new mandatory legal requirements for all medical practitioners currently registered or applying to register with the Medical Council regarding levels of professional medical indemnity. For now, the changes will only affect first-time registrants. More details are available later in the newsletter.

The Medical Council is fully supportive of calls from the HSE and Minister for Health to ensure that all medical practitioners receive the flu vaccination. Healthcare workers are up to ten times more likely to get the flu and to protect those who are vulnerable or working with vulnerable patients, we must ensure that we are all vaccinated. More information on the importance of the vaccine is contained further in the newsletter.

I hope you find the content of this newsletter both interesting and informative.

Bill