| 4.2°C Dublin

Over a dozen doctors guilty of professional misconduct

More than a dozen doctors were found guilty of professional misconduct last year, it emerged today.

The Medical Council revealed complaints were made against almost 300 medics in 2009, with 28 cases brought before an inquiry.

Professor Kieran Murphy, president of the Medical Council, confirmed 13 complaints were upheld. Another three were adjourned to be heard this year.

"The council ensures that all doctors adhere to the highest possible standards of care," he said.

"I think although it is certainly clear that in the earlier part of this year there appears to be an increase in the number of complaints, I think this is probably relating to the fact that among the general public there is an increased awareness of the work of the Medical Council."

A total of 18,168 doctors were registered in Ireland in 2009.

Of 295 complaints lodged the majority - 122 - claimed a medic failed to meet professional standards, with 81 relating to treatment and 25 over failure to communicate and rudeness.

It was ruled that no action be taken in 208 cases, while 31 were referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee. Almost half of those heard were found guilty and four held either totally or partly in public.

For the first time, two cases were referred to mediation with the consent of both the complainant and the doctor.

Prof Murphy said the introduction of the Medical Practitioners Act has given the Medical Council the opportunity to modernise how the profession is regulated.

"There are increased expectations from the public and increased accountability sought of doctors," he continued.

"We aim to be a progressive, fit-for-purpose organisation and are continually looking to improve the way in which we work to meet these expectations."

The Medical Council's objectives for the next three years include promoting patient safety, enhancing public confidence in the medical profession and better communication.

"This is an ambitious plan which will allow the Medical Council to achieve its objective of further enhancing patient safety and public confidence through excellent doctors upholding the highest standards," added Prof Murphy.

PA Media