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Medical Council Publishes Progress Report on Education, Training and Practice

Research Grant of up to €150,000 to be awarded by Medical Council, Health Service Executive and Health Research Board

The Medical Council today (17th June 2013) published a Progress Report on Medical Education, Training and Practice in Ireland, which captures developments in this area over the past five years and provides signposts for further progress. The Council sets and monitors standards at undergraduate, intern and postgraduate levels, and the report is based on the findings of this quality assurance activity.

Speaking today, Ms Caroline Spillane, Medical Council CEO said: “Patients and the public rely on education, training and professional competence to produce the high quality doctors that they need and deserve.  At the core of the Medical Council's role in protecting the public is to oversee systems that support doctors’ professional development throughout their careers. While the standard of education and training in Ireland is generally high, the educational system must continually evolve to respond to the changing needs of patients and to support a rapidly evolving healthcare system.

“With this in mind, the Council is working in partnership with the HSE-Medical Education and Training Unit (HSE-MET) and the Health Research Board (HRB) to launch a new medical education research grant. This new initiative aims to strengthen the evidence base for development of a safe, high quality medical workforce in Ireland as well as building capacity of bodies involved in education and training”. 

A single award of up to a maximum value of €150,000 with duration between 12 and 24 months will be made in 2013. The application process will open on June 24 and will be managed by the HRB.

Professor Eilis McGovern, HSE National Programme Director for Medical Training added: “This initiative aims to address policy needs in the area of medical education and training by fostering research capacity in the sector. The beneficiaries of this project will be the public, the health services and the medical profession”.

Commenting on the new award, Enda Connolly, Chief Executive of the Health Research Board said: “The Health Research Board believes that developing the right skills, conditions and capacity in the health system is critical. Through this project we are investing in the future of Irish healthcare by enhancing the quality of the medical workforce and supporting evidence-based decision making for the benefit of the public and the health services.”

The Medical Council Progress Report highlights a number of key themes:

  • The value of graduate-entry programmes in producing doctors from a variety of academic backgrounds, and ensuring they have the appropriate knowledge, skills, attitude and behaviour.  As four graduate-entry programmes were introduced in recent years, the number of approved programmes for undergraduate medical education has increased from five in 2008 to nine by May 2013, and this is one of the most significant developments in medical education in Ireland
  • The importance of an ongoing dialogue with medical students and trainees, to ensure the Council’s views are informed by those currently in education as well as the institutions themselves  
  • That there should be a continuing emphasis on developing professionalism of doctors at all stages of their career.  The Council is developing a thematic guide expanding on student professionalism, which will include guidance on best practice in student Fitness to Proceed processes
  • Increasing numbers of students have placed pressure on traditional teaching hospitals, and the imperative for adequate resources on clinical training sites is highlighted as a pre-requisite for quality medical education.  The Council monitors teaching and learning capacity within the system and encourages teaching and learning in primary and community care settings
  • The introduction of a national intern curriculum and Network structures for supervising and supporting interns 
  • Council’s evaluation of the quality of  intern training on clinical sites, notifying sites of any issues arising from Council inspections, and monitoring progress on an ongoing basis
  • The scope for the development of professional competence arrangements, which were introduced in 2011.  Current arrangements are flagged as a starting point in the development of systems to help ensure doctors are fit to practise.

Ends.

For further information about the report contact:

Lorna Farren, Medical Council Communications Manager, lfarren@mcirl.ie, 087 913 0288/ 01 498 3173

For queries or further information relating to this or how to apply please visit the HRB website http://www.hrb.ie/grants/ or contact Dr Annalisa Montesanti (amontesant@hrb.ie).