Medical Council News


Annual Retention Process

For the annual retention for 2012 the Council introduced a requirement for any practitioner wishing to retain their registration to complete an Annual Retention Application Form (ARAF). The introduction of the ARAF was established to improve the process by in which registered practitioners affirmed their continuing fitness to practise medicine and to remain on the Register. A fee for late payment (an amount of €50) was also introduced to support the mandatory nature of the ARAF.

At the end of the annual retention period, the Council were pleased with the manner in which the practitioner community adapted to the new arrangement. This was reflected by the fact that 95% of registrants completed the annual retention of registration process by the deadline of June 30th, compared with approximately 55% in 2011. When retirements and withdrawals from the register were factored in, less than 0.5% of doctors were subject to a late payment fee.

This level of return provides Council with great surety about the rigour of the Register and moves the annual retention from a simple financial transaction to a meaningful review by each practitioner to affirm their fitness to remain on the register.

This process also enabled practitioners to report on maintenance of professional competence and a basis for undertaking of associated audits. This also gave Council greater visibility as to doctors on the register who may warrant investigation as to on-going retention of registration. Follow-up audits have recently been completed for a number of doctors highlighted through the retention process, as part of the sampling of the overall register.

Through a survey of practitioners, following completion of the process, there was a strong sense the rollout of the new process was effective, where survey responses showed:

From a practitioner perspective

  • Only 1 in 4 respondents felt communication was insufficient
  • 3 in 4 respondents found the process user friendly
  • 9 in 10 respondents found the form clear and understandable
  • Only 1 in 5 respondents felt the late payment fee should be abolished.

2013 Annual Retention

Informed by feedback from the profession, the Council will make further refinements to the 2013 annual retention, including amendments/ improvements to questions, a longer notice period, and greater use of the Online Portal for Doctors. It might therefore be timely for doctors who have not done so, to register for the portal, as advised through the current Council election.