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Nearly one-in-five complaints about doctors in 2018 related to communication, according to the Medical Council’s annual report. This is in keeping with a pattern over recent years.
Some 396 complaints were received and 29 fitness to practise inquiries were completed during the year.
Meanwhile, 33 cases were managed for performance assessment in 2018 with 10 new referrals. Some 48 doctors were receiving support from the Medical Council’s Health Committee at the end of 2018, according to the report.
The medical register in 2018 was at 22,996, up from 22,649 in 2017. Some 35 per cent of registered doctors were aged 35 or under. Additionally, 58 per cent of registered doctors received their primary medical qualification in Ireland; 14 per cent from another EU member state or a nation in the European Economic Area; and 28 per cent from another country.
Medical Council CEO Mr Bill Prasifka said “Once again in 2018 the number of complaints which related to communications issues has remained high. In response to this the Medical Council are taking a number of actions to address the situation such as ensuring communication becomes mandatory as part of a doctors continuous professional development.”
“We also launched the Safe Start campaign, designed for doctors new to practicing medicine in Ireland. As noted from the complaints received, communications continues to be an area of concern, and the Safe Start initiative addresses communications as a key area for doctors to develop.”
Dr Rita Doyle, Council President, acknowledged the work of the former Council and its President Prof Freddie Wood, whose term ended in mid-2018.
“A key priority for me as President is the well-being of practising doctors who need to ensure that they look after their own physical and mental wellbeing, especially when doctors are working in a health service under significant strain.
“The work of the Council’s Health Committee is of significant importance to every registered doctor in Ireland, and we look forward to developing this facility in the coming year,” concluded Dr Doyle.