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Medical Council’s ‘lack of fairness, transparency’ raised in consultation

By Dermot - 27th Feb 2020

A perceived “lack of fairness, transparency and trustworthiness” in the Medical Council’s dealings was strongly reflected in qualitative responses to a Council consultation exercise.

“The majority of qualitative responses focused on what they perceived to be a lack of fairness, transparency and trustworthiness in the Medical Council’s dealings, primarily in information communicated and interactions with doctors,” outlined a Council document on a consultation exercise for a new statement of strategy.

“This perception is held by many more respondents. In particular, the values of ‘trust’, ‘respect’ and ‘fairness’ were echoed as those that respondents would welcome if included in the final values statement, translated into behaviours emulated by Council in practice going forward.”

In the main, respondents felt that the revised mission statement, values statement, and strategic objectives in the consultation paper reflected their understanding of the Medical Council’s core purpose and aims.

However, technological advances was an area respondents felt the Medical Council could contribute to, and work was required to address these issues legislatively.

Specific examples where rapidly-developing technology has impacted on clinical practice, and potential patient safety issues, were cited to illustrate concerns.

“There is a growth in the use of video consults where the doctor may be resident outside the State. Similarly, with genetic testing for diseases that may lack sensitivity and specificity for the individual,” stated a respondent.

The Medical Council invited key stakeholders to participate in the consultation regarding the draft strategy.

There were 161 respondents to the consultation questionnaire, with a 56 per cent rate of completion. GPs and hospital staff were the two biggest categories of respondents.

Last September, the Council published its new statement of strategy for 2019 to 2023. Commenting at the time, CEO Mr Bill Prasifka said the strategy would focus on the Council’s role in protecting patients and supporting doctors, while also placing a renewed focus on contributing to national policy.

“Central to the development of this strategy, the Medical Council has articulated that it will, through the application of right-touch regulation, influence changes within the health system required to support the provision of safe, quality healthcare,” he stated.

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