154,944 registered members
Move to protect patients from rogue docs
[Posted: Fri 08/04/2011 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
Health Minister James Reilly has said Ireland is supporting EU-wide measures to prevent doctors who have been struck off the register in one country from practising in another member state.
Dr Reilly officially opened a major Medical Council conference in Dublin this morning on professional competence for doctors. From next month, all doctors in Ireland will be legally required to show they are maintaining their professional competence in order to remain registered.
It will be a legal requirement for doctors to commit to a formal process of lifelong learning and continuous improvement by enrolling in professional competence schemes run by their training bodies and fulfilling set requirements from the Medical Council.
Speaking to reporters at the meeting, Minister Reilly said there were situations at the moment where doctors have been struck of in one country but were currently practising in other parts of the EU.
He said he was supporting an EU-wide initiative to ensure that if a doctor is found to be incompetent or struck off the register in one jurisdiction this should be communicated in the strongest way throughout the rest of the EU and mechanisms put in place to protect patients in other countries to which these doctors might move.
The Minister said it also needed to be ensured that doctors in general were competent and maintained their competence, because medicine was not static and changed all the time.
He said he would be setting up a patient safety authority to monitor safety in the health service, and HIQA would be subsumed into this.
Medical Council President Prof Kieran Murphy said from May the Council would be overseeing hiow doctors maintain their competence through lifelong learning and continuous improvement throughout their careers.
Under the new system, doctors will be obliged to take part in educational activities in order to maintain their knowledge of medicine and to engage in audit of their practice.
Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan told the conference that as part of future provisions on patient safety, action would be taken to minimise medication errors, which account for more than 50% of patient safety incidents.
Part of this initiative would be the introduction of a single common prescription that would have the same format in every healthcare setting, in order to remove the risk of errors in prescribing and dispensing.
Dr Holohan said new provisions were needed to ensure safeguards against the movement of incompetent doctors from one job to another. He said health employers should ensure they are aware of the detailed previous employment history of doctors from the point of view of patient safety.
He said proposals for the establishment of a new patient safety authority would be brought forward in the near future.
Dr Holohan said there had been a substantial improvement recently in terms of HSE management of adverse clinical incidents.
Part of the patient safety changes planned by the Government include the establishment of a hospital licensing system.
|To join the discussion, register by clicking here|