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The issue was raised during the April meeting of the RCSI Committee for Surgical Affairs, according to meeting minutes obtained following a Freedom of Information request.The RCSI contacted the Medical Council about its concerns after this meeting. An RCSI spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) “these matters are the subject of ongoing discussion”.
According to the April minutes, the former President of the RCSI Prof Patrick Broe sent a letter to the Medical Council in January 2014 “regarding the misuse of the term ‘surgeon’”. “It was noted that this was on foot of a recommendation from the RCSI Committee for Surgical Affairs meeting of 19 December 2013 and requested that the right to describe one’s self as a surgeon should be restricted in law to those named on the Irish Medical Council Register of Medical Specialists,” according to the minutes.
The minutes note that there was no record of the RCSI having received a reply to Prof Broe’s letter.
“It was agreed that this was a very important issue and affected a number of surgical specialties and should be pursued,” read the minutes.
“Following discussions, it was recommended that the College pursue the issue with the Medical Council.”
The Medical Council pointed towards current legislation on this matter. “By way of overall comment, it’s important to note that at the Medical Council we strongly support any initiatives implemented which will raise the standards of medical practice,” a Medical Council spokesperson told MI.
“Within the parameters of our role, we’ve created an information page on our website for members of the public considering undergoing surgical or cosmetic procedures.
“It is a contravention of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 for a doctor to falsely represent themselves as being registered as a specialist when they have not been so registered.”