Thursday 19 September 2019

Five doctors struck off as medical watchdog gets 396 complaints

Medical Council president Rita Doyle
Medical Council president Rita Doyle
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Five doctors were struck off last year, with 18 medics found guilty of professional misconduct or poor professional performance.

The numbers struck off compared to three in 2017 and six in 2016, according to the annual report of the Medical Council which regulates the profession.

The watchdog got 396 complaints, mostly from the public. They covered a range of grievances including failure to diagnose, botched surgery and an inability to treat patients with dignity.

In keeping with previous years, nearly one-in-five complaints related to failure to communicate properly.

This echoes Dr Gabriel Scally's report on CervicalCheck, which said some of the remarks made by consultants to women bordered on misogyny.

Medical Council chief Bill Prasifka said the regulator was "taking a number of actions to address the situation such as ensuring communication becomes mandatory as part of a doctor's continuous professional development".

It also launched the Safe Start campaign, which is aimed at making the transition to working life easier for new doctors, or those new or returning to practise in Ireland.

One doctor was complained about following alleged alcohol abuse and another for substance abuse.

The regulator oversaw 48 doctors in its health committee, 26 with a mental health issue and 19 with substance abuse. Three had a general health issue.

President Dr Rita Doyle said: "A key priority for me is the well-being of practising doctors who need to ensure that they look after their own physical and mental wellbeing, especially when doctors are working in a health service under significant strain."

The doctor most likely to be complained of is male and in their middle years.

One-in-three doctors is under the age of 35. The breakdown in the workforce is 58pc male and 42pc female and some 58pc qualified in Ireland.

Another 14pc are from another EU state and 28pc from another country.

Irish Independent

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