Medical Council News


Medical Council hosts Education & Training Symposium

The Medical Council today (30th August) held an education and training symposium, with the theme 'From Student to Specialist - Defining Competencies across the Professional Development Spectrum'.

The keynote speaker at the event was Dr Eric Holmboe, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABIM Foundation, whose presentation explored the challenges of taking a competency-based approach to medical education, training and continuing professional development of doctors and the implications which arise for curricula, assessment, faculty and patients. At the event, Dr Holmboe commented: “Taking a competency based approach to professional development across all the stages of a doctor’s career is key to ensuring practice is safe, patient-centred and clinically sound.  Developing good doctors and supporting their continuing practice is a challenge shared by all in the health system.  It is interesting to hear the Irish perspective on these issues and I have been pleased to share learnings and discuss how those of us working to educate, train and support doctors can meet these challenges.”

The symposium was designed to link closely with the Council’s work in standard setting, monitoring and accreditation, and to ensure relevant views were represented in the discussion, attendees included leadership of medical schools and postgraduate medical training bodies, patient representatives, senior health officials and members of the Health Service Executive and Independent Hospitals Association. Issues discussed included developing student and trainee professionalism; involving patients in developing and assessing doctors; and supporting maintenance of competence for continuing practice.

Speaking at the symposium, CEO of the Medical Council, Ms Caroline Spillane, said: “The contributions at the event highlight the fact that all parties involved in developing doctors have a common aim, to ensure the safety of patients.  Our role in the area of professional development needs to continuously evolve, and we must engage in constant dialogue with leaders in the area of education and training in order to meet future challenges.  A range of organisations play important roles in supporting students’ and doctors’ professional development, and collaboration is vital to ensure that our respective strands of work are informed by a range of views from the regulatory, educational, workplace, professional and patient perspectives.”

Consistent with the Council’s role in setting and monitoring standards for the professional development of doctors, the Council also announced at the event its intention to issue a call for proposals later this year for a new research award  in the areas of medical education, training and continuing professional development.

President of the Medical Council, Professor Kieran Murphy, said:  “Since commencement of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, the Medical Council has had a significantly enhanced role in the setting and monitoring of standards for the professional development of doctors. Promoting and funding research into the professional development of doctors further strengthens this role and will subsequently inform the Council’s strategic plans to ensure the ongoing safety of patients”.

Further details of this research award, including the application process, will be released in late 2012.


Notes to Editors

  • The Medical Council sets and monitors standards for undergraduate, intern and postgraduate medical programmes and the bodies that deliver them ensuring that the education and training they deliver is in line with the agreed Medical Council rules, criteria, standards and guidelines. It operates a robust inspection process to ensure that campuses, training sites and facilities provide the right educational and training environment.
  • Since 2009, the Council has conducted 24 inspections to Irish medical schools and medical schools awarding an Irish medical degree. 
  • The Council has conducted 47 intern training site inspectionssince 2011. 
  • A programme of accreditation of postgraduate training bodies is currently underway, with five postgraduate medical training bodies under review in 2012:  the Irish Committee on Higher Medical Training, The Faculty of Public Health Medicine, The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, The Faculty of Occupational Medicine and The Faculty of Paediatrics.All thirteen  training bodies in Ireland will have completed the accreditation process by Mid-2013.