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Medical Practitioners Act changes set to be published ‘in late 2017’

In November, the Department of Health indicated that amendments were due to be published in the first quarter of 2017. Previously, publication had been expected before the end of 2016, as indicated in a written parliamentary response from Minister for Health Simon Harris in June 2016.

A Department spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that a Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill is currently being drafted. It will amend a number of pieces of legislation, including the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, the Dental Act 1985, the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005, the Pharmacy Act 2007, the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 and the Health Acts 1953 and 2004, to provide for amendments required following the transposition of Directive 2013/55/EU;  an appeal against minor sanctions and confirmation by the Courts; action to be taken if a person was prohibited or restricted from practising in another country;  and amendments in relation to a number of other issues, including in respect of the Medical Practitioners Act.

Potential changes to the Act have entered the public domain, which the Department acknowledged were “being considered”.

These have included an amendment to allow the Medical Council’s Fitness to Practise (FTP) Committee to decide, in certain circumstances, if the names of witnesses or others giving evidence at FTP hearings could be anonymised while reporting on the hearing; and an amendment to remove the requirement on doctors to establish internship equivalency to access trainee specialist registration.

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