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The Medical Council has more than doubled its application fee for recognition of new specialties to €13,500, as it accrues costs of around €30,000 in running this process.
Earlier this year, a Council meeting heard of a proposed change to the structure of the application fee. “It is estimated that the cost of recognising a new specialty to the Medical Council is €30,000, of which only €5,000 is recouped by way of an application fee,” according to meeting minutes.
The Council’s audit, finance and risk committee suggested that the fee be increased to €13,500 and split into three stages: Application assessment of €500 (administrative fee); a stage one charge of €3,000; and stage two charge of €10,000. All fees are non-refundable.
In May, at a governance meeting with the Department of Health, Council CEO Mr Bill Prasifka explained that the increase in the fee structure was necessary “to go towards meeting the costs to the Medical Council of running the application process”, according to minutes seen by the Medical Independent following a Freedom of Information request to the Department.
After an initial screening where aspirant specialties require a formal expression of support from the HSE, an application may proceed to stage one, which establishes a case for full assessment during stage two.
An application is unlikely to proceed to stage two if the aspirant specialty is in an area of practice limited to a specific geographic area or demographic group; treatment of a single disease; based on a limited number of techniques or on a single modality of treatment; or is already recognised (fully or partly) under a different specialty title.