Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Medical Council Announces Details of Schemes to Maintain Professional Competence

30 March 2011
The Medical Council held a formal ceremony today (30th March) to announce details of the 13 postgraduate training bodies which have been accredited to operate professional competence schemes for doctors.

Professional Competence Scheme Launch

Professor Kieran C Murphy, President of the Medical Council, with members of the 13 training bodies at the Irish Medical Council’s headquarters.

From May, it will be a legal requirement for all doctors to commit to a formal process of lifelong learning and improvement by enrolling in professional competence schemes and fulfilling requirements set by the Medical Council. Doctors will enrol in schemes relevant to their areas of practice and participate in a range of activities including maintenance of knowledge and skills, practice evaluation and development, personal learning and research/teaching.

Announcing the recognition of training bodies, Professor Kieran C Murphy, President of the Medical Council said: "The maintenance of professional competence is a strategic priority for the Medical Council and the recognition of training bodies is a pivotal component in the development of the professional competence system. The Medical Council has worked very closely with training bodies to develop professional competence schemes which will be straightforward, practice-based and focused on patient safety. Doctors can be confident that the range of schemes on offer will ensure that professional competence activities will support the development needs of every specialty and be of real benefit to them, their patients and practice."

CEO of the Medical Council, Caroline Spillane said: "Professional competence schemes will be operated by postgraduate training bodies on a not-for-profit basis with Council oversight of each scheme's financial processes. To minimise the financial burden on doctors, the Medical Council has opted not to levy any fees for the operation of these schemes and will absorb the costs of monitoring and oversight."

Fees of €250 to €275 will be levied by training bodies to support doctors in engaging in activities which meet their individual requirements. A recent survey found that in 2010 over half of doctors spent in excess of €1,000 on voluntary activities relating to continuous professional development.

Ms Spillane added: "For years, doctors have considered their professional competence a responsibility which warranted significant investment. These new schemes will add value to existing activities and ensure that doctors' commitment and investment in lifelong learning will be formally recognised and appreciated by the public."