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In March 2015, the Council stopped accepting new applications for specialty recognition pending a review of the existing process. As previously reported by MI, Plymouth University, UK, was engaged to conduct a review of the current procedure and provide an appraisal of potential “enhancement options”. The cost of the review contract was €35,000, excluding VAT.
As of September 2017, the review document was being considered by the Council’s Education, Training and Professional Development Committee.
On the latest developments, a Council spokesperson said: “The Medical Council engaged Plymouth University Peninsula Group to conduct an external review of our process for recognition of new specialties, for the purposes of registration in the Specialist Division. The report of the Group has not been published, but a consultation event was held with all postgraduate training bodies to share those findings and proposed revised process. Documentation in support of the process is currently being finalised and, subject to Council approval (bearing in mind the beginning of a new Council term), it is hoped to reopen the process later this year.”
Before the Council suspended the process, MI was aware of the intent of relevant colleges to develop proposals seeking recognition of forensic psychiatry and forensic pathology, for example. The last specialty to be recognised by the Council before the suspension was military medicine.
As previously reported by this newspaper, the specialty recognition review was to consider ‘credentialling’ areas of practice. In the UK, the General Medical Council (GMC) is seeking to introduce credentialling. It defines credentialling as “a process which provides formal accreditation of competences (which include knowledge, skills and performance) in a defined area of practice, at a level that provides confidence that the individual is fit to practise in that area”.
Meanwhile, the Council informed this newspaper that it received nine tender submissions in relation to development of its next Statement of Strategy, which will cover the period 2019 to 2023. The successful tenderer was Alpha Healthcare Ltd.
The expected value tendered for the Statement of Strategy work is €30,000, said the Council’s spokesperson.