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Medical Council may revisit ‘internal inquiry unit’ plan

The Council’s business plan for 2018, under the heading of “significant activities of note”, referred to conducting a feasibility study regarding an internal inquiry unit.

“A feasibility study has not taken place to date in 2018 due to other priorities, however it may be revisited under the Council’s new Statement of Strategy,” a Council spokesperson told MI last month.

The regulator issued no information as to the possible role of an internal inquiry unit.

In 2018 this newspaper reported that the CEO of the Council would carry out an initial investigation of complaints against doctors rather than the Preliminary Proceedings Committee, as currently happens, under legislative proposals.

A doctors’ licensing system, changing the way sanctions are imposed, and an “amalgamation of regulators” are other issues the Medical Council will examine, indicated minutes of a governance meeting between the Council and Department of Health in November 2018.

Meanwhile, the Council’s draft Statement of Strategy for 2019-2023 was released for public consultation on 3 January. It is available on the Council’s website and the deadline for submissions is 22 January next.

Some of the key objectives include being a “global leader” in medical regulation; seeking the necessary legislative changes to bring Irish medical regulation into line with international best practice; and learning from experience to deliver “an efficient and proportionate model of regulation”.

“In developing the draft strategy, the Medical Council sought feedback and opinion from a broad stakeholder base,” remarked its spokesperson. “Significant consultation has been held to date with the profession, stakeholders and internally with our staff, Council members and Committee members. Consultations took place in the form of surveys, face-to-face engagements and workshops, all of which were designed to gain valuable insight from the various stakeholder groups.”

Alpha Consultancy has been engaged in aiding the Council with this work and the consultation piece, following a competitive tender process. “Commercial details relating to same cannot be released as the project is still live,” said the Council’s spokesperson.

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