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Minutes of the meeting, obtained by the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request to the Department, stated that “over 12,000 registered medical practitioners are required to enrol on a professional competence scheme (PCS). Postgraduate medical training bodies (PGTBs) reported approximately 100 doctors who haven’t engaged in any CPD in the last three years”.
The Medical Council had commenced “proportionate regulatory activity” and the first step was to contact each individual doctor, according to the minutes. “This is resource-intensive. In 2019, the Medical Council intend to undertake a review of the PCS model operated by the PGTBs to determine if it is fit-for-purpose, specifically in the areas of quality assurance for CPD activity, operation systems that support doctors and compliance with the MPC [maintenance of professional competence] requirements.”
A Council spokesperson told MI: “All doctors in this group have been contacted and have been asked to take steps to rectify this issue. The Medical Council will monitor these doctors going forward to ensure that they maintain their professional competence as set out in the Medical Practitioners Act 2007.”
In respect of the plan to undertake a review of the PCS model operated by the PGTBs, the Council’s spokesperson said, “this project is scheduled for 2019-2020”.
Last year, the Council published Maintenance of Professional Competence: Report of Progress 2011-2018, which stated that monitoring of doctors’ compliance with professional competence obligations needed to be strengthened, with a greater role indicated for postgraduate colleges and employers.
In May 2011, mandatory MPC came into effect, requiring doctors to undertake one practice improvement or clinical audit activity and accrue 50 credits or more in CPD activity annually.
In 2016, the Council identified that a significant number of doctors had failed to enrol on a scheme, which they were mandatorily obliged to do. However, the Council stated last year that the number of non-enrolled doctors had fallen to around 1 per cent through a collaborative effort with the postgraduate bodies.
Nevertheless, the Council’s 2018 report on MPC noted that “approximately three-quarters of registered doctors in Ireland are fully compliant with MPC requirements at present”, leaving one-quarter who were not.