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Eight doctors struck off the register last year, 37 investigated

A total of 380 complaints about doctors were received by the Medical Council last year.

EIGHT DOCTORS HAD their registration cancelled in 2011 as a result of inquiries by the Fitness to Practice Committee, according to the latest report from the Medical Council.

The report also reveals that there was a five per cent increase in new complaints made against doctors last year, when compared to 2010.

Around 32 complaints a month were handled by the Preliminary Proceedings Committee, and a total of 380 were received throughout the year.

Of 37 complaints referred to the Fitness to Practice Committee, eight doctors had their registration cancelled, conditions were imposed on six and fifteen were either advised, admonished or censured.

Twelve of those doctors who were the subjects of FTPC inquiries were found guilty of professional misconduct, while nine were found guilty of poor professional performance.

Of the 32 doctors who were referred to the Health Sub-Committee – which was established to support doctors with medical disabilities and those who are undergoing medical treatment – four of the referrals were alcohol related, 8 were alcohol and drug related, 9 were related to drugs only and 10 were related to mental disability.

Other referrals were for neurological disorder and hepatitis/drug misuse.

Chief executive officer of the Medical Council Caroline Spillane said that in 2011 a review of procedures was undertaken and a number of recommendations implemented to improve the council’s handling of complaints about doctors.

President of the Medical Council Professor Kieran Murphy told Radio One’s Morning Ireland this morning that the five per cent increase in complaints represents an increase in awareness of the role of the Medical Council.

A large number of complaints are in relation to treatment and professional standards, but can also relate to issues like advertising and alcohol misuse.

Read: The Medical Council’s 2011 report (PDF)>

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Emer McLysaght

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