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Doctors’ specialist registration granted against advice

The Medical Council has granted specialist registration to some doctors against the recommendation of Irish postgraduate training bodies, the Medical Independent (MI) can report.

In spring, before the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, a high-placed source in a college informed MI they were aware of instances where doctors were placed on the specialist register, despite colleges advising “they do not meet the criteria”.

These would be cases where entry to the specialist division involved an assessment of a doctor’s prior training and experience.

The source said the college had a defined list of criteria and would advise the Medical Council to what extent the doctor met these stipulations. The source said in some cases, the doctors who were granted specialist registration had not completed professional exams in their specialty.

Outgoing CEO of the Medical Council Mr Bill Prasifka confirmed there had been a difference of opinion on some cases.

Mr Prasifka said the legislation was clear that the Medical Council “is the custodian of the register”.

He said applications were sent to the training bodies for review but it was a decision for Council as to whether a doctor met the required qualifications.

“I mean, there have been cases, as you point out, where there has been a disagreement. I don’t find that terribly surprising,” said Mr Prasifka. “But certainly, any time the Council decides that someone should go on the specialist register, it is after what is a very thorough process, it is after a lot of engagement with the training bodies and with the doctor, it is after very careful consideration and I can tell you that these decisions are taking into account the totality of the doctor’s experience.”

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