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The Medical Council is “working closely” with the Department of Health on how to facilitate registration of doctors who had retired “should the need arise”, a Council spokesperson has told the Medical Independent (MI).
On Sunday, HSE CEO Mr Paul Reid told RTÉ radio’s This Week programme that the Executive would “most likely” seek the return of some retired healthcare professionals amid the Covid-19 international public health emergency.
The UK government’s Covid-19 action plan, published on 3 March, stated that NHS staff rostering changes may be necessary, “including calling leavers and retirees back to duty”.
However, most respondents to a Guardian survey of retired NHS doctors and nurses were resistant to the idea, “with many saying it would threaten their physical and mental health”, according to the newspaper.
Meanwhile, the Medical Council has also informed MI that it has a business continuity plan in place “with a number of staff having access to work remotely across all core functions, with capacity being increased. Plans will continue to be reviewed daily with numerous scenarios taken into consideration.
“With teleconferencing and video conferencing facilities in place the Council has the ability to continue hosting committee meetings, if required, remotely or via the office with participants dialling in.
“In the extreme case of an office closure, for an extended period of time, delays on some functions may occur. Remote working staff may be transferred from other sections into priority areas such as registration to ensure a continuation of service in priority areas.”
In a statement yesterday, the Council acknowledged that difficulties may arise for doctors in fulfilling continuous professional development (CPD) requirements as a result of Covid-19.
“The Medical Council, in its role in supporting doctors, understands the significant workload faced by doctors and the potential travel disruptions, arising due to Covid-19, and appreciates that some doctors may choose not to attend European and International medical education-related conferences or have difficulty in recording their CPD.”
If as a result of this, a doctor will not meet CPD requirements, they are asked to advise their professional competence scheme; and, when completing the annual retention application form (ARAF), tick ‘No’ they are not compliant.
By doing both, the doctor’s circumstances will be taken into consideration in the compliance monitoring process. If the doctor’s compliance has been consistent in the past, this deviation “should not cause any concern”, according to the Council.