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Strategic Objective Three

Maintain the confidence of the public and profession in the Council’s processes by developing a proportionate and targeted approach to regulatory activities.

We will oversee a more effective and appropriate approach to resolution of complaints by working with external partners, implementing reforms and learning from experience.

We aim to achieve this goal by:

1.   Influencing enhanced procedures to progress complaints throughout the health system

  • Develop a framework with employers in the private, public and voluntary health sector to ensure that complaints are addressed properly and at the appropriate level in the system.
  • Work with complainants and patient advocacy groups/ representatives to ensure clarity on the system for resolution of complaints, including when complaints should be dealt with by the regulator.
  • Manage the Council’s complaints and inquiry process in a fair and cost-effective manner.
  • Work with the Department of Health, other relevant government departments and international regulatory networks to ensure legislation at national and EU level supports effective and appropriate resolution of complaints.
  • Make targeted and appropriate use of procedures to assess and remediate doctors’ performance in response to concerns.

2.   Safeguarding the integrity of the register

  • Implement reforms in complaints management processes that improve patient protection and reflect good practice: This will include Preliminary Proceedings Committee procedures, Fitness to Practise inquiry procedures and guidance on indicative sanctions.
  • Ensure that complaints are progressed quickly and efficiently, within published timeframes.
  • Improve appropriate transparency in our complaints handling processes by ensuring consistency in the release of documentation.

3.   Learning from experience

  • Ensure themes and issues emerging from the Council’s complaints and inquiry processes are captured, analysed and inform the development of guidance on good professional practice for doctors.
  • Work with partner organisations, including, employers, policy makers, other regulators and international partners, to share learning arising from fitness to practise procedures.

What are the intended outcomes?

  • Complaints relating to a doctor’s fitness to practise are addressed by the regulator, where appropriate.
  • More transparent complaints and inquiry procedures.
  • Efficient systems resulting in a cost-effective handling of complaints.
  • Guidance to the profession reflects trends and addresses issues emerging from complaints and inquiry processes.

How we will measure effectiveness

  • Framework for complaints managed and developed.
  • Trend analysis of the origin of complaints.
  • Systems in place to measure the efficient handling of complaints, including the timeframes to progress complaints.
  • External assessment of complaints and fitness to practise procedures.
  • Number of reports developed by the Medical Council arising from themes & issues emerging from the complaints and inquiry process.

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