Monday 22 January 2018

'Absolutely bizarre and mystifying' - doctor fined €5k over failure to undergo continuing education

The High Court, Dublin
The High Court, Dublin

Tim Healy

A DOCTOR who provides courses in occupational health and sports injuries has been fined €5,000 and censured by the High Court over his failure to comply with requirements that he undergo continuing education.

Dr Ronan More O'Farrell, who works at the Medmark occupational health care clinic in Baggot Street, Dublin, must also comply with conditions imposed by the court requiring that he undergo further education.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, said the Medical Council had correctly described the case as "absolutely bizarre and mystifying".

The judge said since qualifying as a doctor, he had not undergone any post-graduate training despite he himself being the co-ordinator of training courses in a number of hospitals and in UCD. 

He had also claimed a course he designed was used as a template by leading sports organisations for pitch-side medical care, the judge said.

He said the doctor appeared to "have gone under the radar" despite the Medmark practice being within a stone's throw of the Medical Council offices.  

He noted the council had also had difficulties serving papers on him when it brought disciplinary proceedings against him.

The proceedings arose when he was chosen for audit by the council and despite some initial contact with him about the requirement that he get further education, he had "effectively ignored" the matter, JP McDowell, solicitor for the council told the court.

The issue of him providing training courses without having had further education was not something the council had jurisdiction over and that would ultimately be a matter for his employer, Mr McDowell said.

Mr McDowell said he failed to attend the council inquiry which decided to censure him and impose a €5,000 fine over his failure to comply with the rules that he obtain further education between May 2014 and April 2016.  Conditions were also attached to his registration in relation to carrying out further education.

Confirming the council decision, Mr Justice Kelly said the fine should be paid within 28 days and he hoped the conditions on further education would be complied with "so that the court will not have to deal with the consequences".  

Mr McDowell said it would be open to the council to bring contempt of court proceedings against him or make a further complaint for breach of the conditions.

Dr More O'Farrell was not in court and not represented.

The judge awarded the costs of the case against him saying doctors who pay their yearly registration fee should not have to pay for the failure of one of their member to comply with the regulations.

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