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‘Mixed views’ on credentialing for new specialties — Medical Council review

According to minutes of a Department of Health governance meeting with the Medical Council in October, officials from the Department noted “there are mixed messages on credentialing in the report on review of the process of recognition of specialties/training bodies”. The minutes stated that the Council “will conduct a public consultation early next year [2018] targeting the HSE/training bodies”.

It was noted that the Council “needs to decide if credentialing is a good fit for our jurisdiction”.

A Council spokesperson informed MI there is no date set for publication of the report and “it is a matter of ongoing discussion”.

In March 2015, the Council stopped accepting new applications for specialty recognition pending a review of the existing process.

Plymouth University, UK, conducted a review of the procedures for the recognition of specialties in Ireland and it appraised potential “enhancement options”. The cost of the review contract was €35,000, excluding VAT.

In October, MI reported that the Council expected to re-open a specialty recognition process this year.

Prior to suspending the acceptance of new applications, MI understands that relevant bodies had plans to pursue recognition of forensic psychiatry and forensic pathology, for example. The last specialty to be recognised by the Council was military medicine. 

In the UK, the General Medical Council (GMC) is seeking to introduce credentialing, which it defines as a process that provides formal accreditation of competences in a defined area of practice, at a level “that provides confidence that the individual is fit to practise in that area”.

A GMC spokesperson told MI: “We are currently piloting a certification scheme for cosmetic surgeons together with the Royal College of Surgeons [England]. We will be expanding the pilots further this year to consider credentials in other areas.

“We intend to introduce a credentialing framework in early 2019. However, we would require legislative change to fully implement credentials — this will impact on our approach and the speed at which we introduce all aspects of credentialing.”

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