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The issue has also arisen in the context of the online voting system for the Council’s elections, which took place earlier this year.
A spokesperson for the Council told the Medical Independent (MI): “The Council has been aware of these restrictions [relating to HSE computers] for a number of years, and since that awareness, has forewarned doctors that there may be firewall issues which prevent use of in-house IT infrastructure. The advice being, to utilise standalone devices for completion of requirements for annual retention.”
The Council had again highlighted this matter as part of its advice at the time of the election, added the spokesperson.
“Given the need for most doctors to interact with the Council, via the online portal, is limited to once-a-year interaction, the Council has not sought to interfere with HSE IT security infrastructure. The Council has relied on the advice referred to — for doctors to utilise alternate devices for retention and with the elections, which has proved effective in achieving high compliance at registration retention time.”
Meanwhile, the Council confirmed that it is examining the “feasibility of various options” in regard to office space.
“Further discussions will take place with the relevant Council Committees. Any long-term changes which may take place will be done in consultation with our staff and stakeholders. We are currently looking at temporary solutions in the short term for additional meeting space.”
As reported by MI earlier this year, the Council’s rented headquarters in Dublin — Kingram House — is “at capacity” and the regulator is examining future options.
Last year, “operating lease payments recognised as an expense” amounted to €820,000, according to the Council’s 2017 Annual Report.