Medical Council reduces annual retention fees for doctors on maternity leave

By Reporter - 15th Jul 2022 | 209 views

The Medical Council has announced a change in the annual retention fee for doctors who are on maternity leave which takes immediate effect.

Head of Registration with the Medical Council, Ms Ann Curran, said: “The Council is pleased to announce that as of 1 July doctors who are on or going on maternity leave will be entitled to a refund of 50 per cent of their annual retention fee.”

“We hope this change to our fee structure supports doctors, and their families, at a time when there can often be additional financial challenges. This is the first in a number of changes to our registration fee structures and we look forward to making further changes to support doctors over the next year.”

Welcoming this change, President of the Medical Council, Dr Suzanne Crowe, said: “The people delivering medicine and caring for our patients have been changing over recent years as we see a growing number of women entering the medical profession.”

“Currently just over 45 per cent of the medical register in Ireland are women, and in the 20 – 35 year age group there are more women in medicine than men. While the functions of the medical regulator are clearly set out in legislation, our role is not as clear cut.

“In partnership with our stakeholders, the Medical Council must look to the future of patient safety and care by utilising the research and data we hold to better understand and support the medical profession and all those working in the healthcare sector, while striving for the delivery of a healthcare workforce plan that will seek to ensure patient needs are being met safely.

“This small change, the first of a number, which will make a difference to doctors and their families and I commend the Medical Council’s Registration Department for leading on this significant change.”

If a doctor’s maternity leave stretches across two retention periods, then they can opt for which retention period the 50 per cent refund applies to.

In the past, doctors who have been on maternity leave have either paid the full retention fee or have voluntarily withdrawn from the register. This change will allow doctors to stay on the register while on maternity leave, receive a 50 per cent refund on retention fees and reduce the administrative burden on the doctor if they were to voluntarily withdraw and reapply to the register.

In 2021, some 25,959 doctors were on the medical register, with 45 per cent female. Some 45 per cent of specialist registered doctors and 53 per cent of doctors aged 20-35 were female.

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