Glossary of Terms

The following terms are frequently used at Fitness to Practise Inquiries

CEO - the Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Council presents the evidence in support of the complaint.

Expert witness - an independent witness which may be called by either the Medical Council CEO or the doctor.

Legal advisor - a Senior Counsel/ Barrister who advises the Fitness to Practise Committee.

Poor professional performance - a failure by the doctor to meet the standards of competence (whether in knowledge and skill, the application of knowledge and skill or both) that can be reasonably expected of doctors practising the type of medicine practised by the doctor. (Important notice on complaints amounting to poor professional performance)

Prima facie (Initial) decision - a decision by the Preliminary Proceedings Committee to refer complaint for an oral inquiry.

Professional misconduct - conduct that experienced, competent and reputable doctors consider disgraceful or dishonourable; conduct that falls seriously short of the standards of conduct expected of doctors.

Relevant medical disability - a physical or mental disability (including addiction to alcohol or drugs) that may impair the doctor's ability to practise medicine or a particular aspect of medicine.

Reserved judgment - when the Fitness to Committee refrains from making an immediate decision and retires to consider the case further.


Admonish - a sanction open to the Medical Council which means to reprimand firmly.

Advise - a sanction open to the Medical Council which means to recommend a course of action.

Censure - a sanction open to the Medical Council which means to criticise strongly.

Cancellation of a doctor's registration - erasing the doctor from the medical register and withdrawing the doctor's right to practise medicine in Ireland.

Conditions - the Council can impose a sanction whereby conditions are attached to a doctor's registration, including restrictions on their practice.

Fine - the Council can impose a sanction of a fine of up to €5,000.

Suspension - the Council can suspend a doctor's registration for a defined period.

Transfer - the Council can impose a sanction of transferring a doctor's registration to another division of the register.

Undertakings - the Fitness to Practise Committee may request that a doctor undertake not to repeat the conduct or undertake to be referred to a professional competence scheme.

Additional Information