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Complaints of 'failing to treat patients with dignity' against doctors have doubled

The number of complaints against qualified doctors is down in general however.

Image: Shutterstock/lenetstan

THE NUMBER OF complaints made against doctors in Ireland for ‘failing to treat their patient(s) with dignity’ almost doubled in 2014.

The level of such complaints went from 34 in 2013 to 65 in 2014.

The data is contained in the Irish Medical Council’s annual report which was released today. The original report can be found here.

Overall, however, the number of complaints against individual doctors in Ireland decreased from 503 to 366 in 2014, an improvement of over 27%.

Almost 72% of all complaints made against doctors were against males.

While improvements were made in many categories, significant regression was seen in some.

Standout complaints apart from the aforementioned include issues of maintaining competence, confidentiality, dishonesty, and breaches of the Medical Practitioners Act (MPA) 2007.

graph2 Source: Irish Medical Council

The greatest improvements seen in terms of complaints received by the medical council include issues of communication (down to 91 from 114 in 2013), prescribing, diagnosis, and follow up care.

Of the 303 decisions arrived at by the IMC regarding these complaints, the vast majority (83%) involved no further action being taken, with 24 specific Fitness to Practice inquiries being called.

The vast majority of complaints made were against doctors who had qualified in Ireland (75%) as opposed to those from the EU or beyond.

Speaking at the reports’s launch, President of the Medical Council Freddie Wood said the report underlines the “importance of placing the patient at the centre of all important healthcare decisions”.

Hospitals and individual doctors must focus on continuous improvement in the interests of their patients, and  making sure those patients are treated as we would wish to be ourselves.

There are currently  19,049 doctors registered with the Medical Council as at the end of 2014, the highest number seen in a decade.

A recent survey run on behalf of the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) found that 52% of Irish GPs would pick a different career were they to be given the choice again.

Fully a third of those surveyed meanwhile said they planned to leave general practice inside the next five years.

Read: Half of Irish GPs are in debt and wish they’d done something else

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