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Revised specialty recognition process to reopen

A spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that aspirant specialties will need to receive formal support from HSE National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP) for their specialty. “NDTP will also be part of the pre-stage 1 assessment for specialty recognition,” added the spokesperson.

“Both the Department of Health and NDTP will also be required to participate in public consultation at stage 2 of the process.”

In March 2015, the Council stopped accepting new applications for specialty recognition, pending a review of the existing process. A review of the procedures for the recognition of specialties, including potential “enhancement options”, was conducted by Plymouth University, UK.

Minutes of a governance meeting between the Department and Council in November 2018 stated that “the Plymouth University review recommended increasing the fee for specialty recognition. The Medical Council have conducted an internal assessment of operational costs associated with specialty recognition. It proposes to increase the fee with staggered payments at various stages of the process.”

MI understands that relevant bodies had plans to pursue recognition of forensic psychiatry and forensic pathology, for example, prior to the suspension of the process. The last specialty to be recognised by the Council before the process was suspended was military medicine.

Meanwhile, the prospect of credentialling is “still under review and requires further research, legal opinion and discussion with relevant training bodies, the Education and Training Committee and Council”, stated the regulator. “No decision has been made about credentialling to date or its potential role.”

In September 2018, the Council confirmed it was exploring the possibility of trialling credentialling with the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland and the ICGP.

Credentialling was an alternative to recognition of a specialty, in circumstances where an area of medical practice “does/would not meet the criteria for recognition as a specialty”, outlined the regulator.

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