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35 new complaints a month against doctors to Medical Council

That’s an increase of 12 per cent between 2011 and 2012, according to the council’s annual report.

THERE WAS AN increase of 12 per cent in the amount of complaints made against registered doctors to the Medical Council in 2012.

The Medical Council’s annual report said today that it received approximately 35 new complaints per month in 2012 compared to 32 complaints in the previous year.

A total of 423 new complaints were received in 2012, representing a 12 per cent increase from 2011. Decisions were made in relation to 396 complaints and 56 complaints were referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee (FTPC) for inquiry.

CEO of the Medical Council, Ms Caroline Spillane said:

As the number of complaints we receive continues to increase, it’s important that our procedures are fair, transparent and robust.  By moving to a model whereby complaints are investigated by case officers specifically trained to deal with sensitive issues, both complainants and doctors benefit from having a designated contact throughout the complaints process.

The inquiry caseload continued to be managed by the FTPC which, during the course of 2012 completed 41 inquiries over 100 days.

Of the inquiries heard:

  • Six doctors have had conditions attached to their registration
  • Two doctors had their registration cancelled
  • Four doctors were suspended
  • Eleven doctors received advice/admonishment/censure
  • Eleven doctors were found not guilty and a further 14 provided undertakings to the FTPC.
  • Four reports are waiting to go before council for consideration in relation to sanction.

Patient protection

The Annual Report and Term Report outline the council’s work over the past five years, and a new council will commence its term in June.

Professor Kieran Murphy, President of the Medical Council, said he believes that the implementation of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 during the council’s tenure “has resulted in significantly greater protection for patients and has facilitated enhanced professional development at all stages of a doctor’s professional life”.

In particular, professional competence requirements have been introduced, making it a legal obligation for all doctors to keep their knowledge and skills up to date throughout their professional lives.

The report also showed a continued focus on education and training standards at undergraduate, intern and postgraduate level.  To support the delivery of intern training, guidelines on remediation of doctors in the intern year were published.

There were 18,184 doctors registered with the Medical Council, entitling them to practise medicine in Ireland.  Of the 1,263 doctors registered for the first time for entry to the Register of Medical Practitioners, 652 were from outside the European Economic Area.

The financial statements showed that the council’s expenditure on wages and salaries for the year ended 31 December 2012 was €3,026,130, down from €3,178,126 the year before.

Total expenditure was down from €10,724,055 in 2011 to €10, 633,027 in 2012. Total income was €9,269,930 in 2012, down from €9,574,982 in 2011. It showed a €354, 145 loss, an increase from 2011′s €219, 953.

Read: How do Ireland’s doctor competence checks fare against Britain’s strict new rules?>

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