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Potential complaints about delayed care – RCSI Council

The RCSI Council raised concerns with the Medical Council and the HSE earlier this year about potential patient complaints due to delays accessing clinical care during the pandemic.

Correspondence between the RCSI Council and the Medical Council was discussed at the February meeting of the RCSI Council, according to minutes obtained under Freedom of Information law.

The minutes noted that the RCSI Council had written to the then President of the Medical Council, Dr Rita Doyle, highlighting “the concerns for the potential for complaints by patients to the Medical Council with regard to delayed diagnosis and deferred surgical intervention” owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The minutes stated that, in response, Dr Doyle reassured practitioners that “adverse outcomes arising from resource or pandemic-related delays would not be appropriate grounds for progressing a complaint against an individual practitioner and advised that while the Council is statutorily required to investigate every complaint received, any complaints about medical practitioners are considered on the specific facts of the case and the particular situation in which the doctor is working”.

“The need to ensure doctors keep copies of all documentation in relation to patient records was emphasised.”

At its meeting in March, the RCSI Council agreed to write to HSE CEO Mr Paul Reid “outlining the grave concerns regarding the enormous waiting lists; pressure on surgical services; inevitable future litigation”; and to indicate a “willingness to meet and discuss options”.

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