Sunday 4 December 2016

Check if Skype doctors are on register here, warns Medical Council

Published 19/10/2016 | 02:30

Many patients now receive medical consultations using Skype and other websites. Picture posed
Many patients now receive medical consultations using Skype and other websites. Picture posed

Patients who get doctor consultations at a distance through phone, websites, apps and Skype are being urged to ensure the medic is actually registered here.

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A new patient guide from the Medical Council, the regulatory body for doctors, said there was a need to maintain high standards, regardless of where doctors were based.

It says: "If you are thinking about getting treatment or advice using a telemedicine service from a doctor you have not seen before, you should check that they are registered with the Medical Council.

"Doctors based in other countries providing services to patients in Ireland using the internet or telephone should be registered with the council."

The online booklet for patients and members of the public outlines what to expect from a doctor.

It says patients are entitled to their medical records, except in "rare cases" where a doctor believes it is likely to cause them harm. A doctor may charge a small fee to cover the costs of providing copies of the records.

If things go wrong, the guide says, a patient is entitled to an "honest, open and prompt explanation of what happened, how it will be investigated, and the steps to be taken to help prevent it happening again".

The patient should first start to raise the issue with the doctor or hospital.

If that is not satisfactory, a formal complaint can be made with serious issues brought to the council.

Doctors must keep records confidential and patients decide who it can be shared with.

Irish Independent

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