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Council’s ethical guide to be revised due to Covid-19

The Medical Council’s ethical guide will be revised in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, with an updated edition likely to be issued later in 2021.


Ms Jantze Cotter, the Council’s Director of Professional Development and Research, told the Medical Independent (MI) “we will be looking at issuing a new revised guide or guidance to the profession, probably later in 2021”. It will take into consideration key issues that have arisen during the pandemic, including around telemedicine and continuity of care.


Ms Cotter said that with the arrival of the pandemic, doctors were seeking support from the Council in regard to ethical dilemmas, particularly around the issue of prioritisation of patients. She said the Council had issued guidance to provide doctors with support “within the flexibility of the [Medical Practitioners] Act”.


She said this guidance advised that the “time and place” of provision of care would be taken into account should a complaint arise.


Ms Cotter said the Council could not “give blanket sign-off” that issues arising during the pandemic would not be examined.


“We will still consider the complaint, but we will be looking at the time and the place and the guidance that has been issued from Government and us around management of care,” she told MI.


Ms Cotter said the Council has an active ethics committee chaired by Dr Suzanne Crowe, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist and Anaesthesiologist at Children’s Health Ireland, Crumlin. The most recent update to the Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners was in 2019, due to the commencement of new termination of pregnancy legislation.

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