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Doctors will be subject to random inspections under new rules

Medical Council inspectors will visit doctors wherever they need assurances about the standard of care offered to patients.

IRELAND’S DOCTORS may be subject to random inspections under new Medical Council performance assessment rules coming into effect later this year.

The new regime, announced yesterday, will see a team of two doctors and a patient representative visit a doctor to conduct on-site assessments and review their performance from March of this year.

The visits will initially take place in circumstances where the Medical Council requires assurance about the quality of a doctor’s practice, with visits triggered by information including patient complaints and concerns from colleagues.

For example, a random inspection may be carried out if local healthcare managers may raise concerns over a doctor’s performance.

Doctors who receive negative assessments from their inspectors  may be taken to a fitness to practice hearing by the Medical Council if it feels it necessary in order to protect the public.

The system will run in parallel to the other procedures already operated by the council, which says the vast majority of the complaints it receives relate to isolated incidents, like a patient’s poor experience with a doctor at a certain time and place.

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Gavan Reilly

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