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Non-specialist ‘consultants’ are a ‘red risk’

Minutes of the Council’s meeting, seen by the Medical Independent (MI), outlined a proposal for the issue to be included on the risk register. “Whilst it was noted that this issue does not fall into the remit and statutory function of the Council, it does however carry a potential reputational risk. Council directed that this be included as a red risk on the register and that a full review of the register be carried out for the next Council meeting,” according to the minutes.

A Medical Council spokesperson said it remained “concerned” about the issue, on which it “continues to engage with the HSE”.

In addition to regular meetings, the Council has written to the HSE, setting out the manner in which these doctors can address the issue, they added.

The current assessment of this cohort is that the majority will need to submit a portfolio of evidence of their training and experience. This will be assessed to determine whether they have reached the standard comparable to doctors who completed higher specialist training.

There were 161 doctors with general registration in consultant posts in HSE/HSE-funded organisations as of 12 December 2018, according to the HSE.

This total is higher than previously-cited HSE figures, which referred to 121 doctors with general registration in consultant posts as of May 2018, and 133 doctors as of June 2018.

A HSE spokesperson told MI: “Previous figures on the number of consultants identified were arrived at solely using the DIME [Doctors Integrated Management E-System] and had not been validated with the local employment record.” The verified figure is 161 as of 12 December.

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