By Dara Gantly. The Medical Council has issued a reminder to doctors about their legal duty to maintain their professional competence (PC) ahead of monitoring and audit activities being introduced later this year.
April 30 marks the end of the first 12-month period of PC activities and, following this, the Council will commence monitoring and audit activities to ensure that doctors are observing their legal duty to maintain their PC.
While President of the Council Prof Kieran Murphy reiterated that formal PC requirements placed on a statutory footing practices which doctors had engaged in on a voluntary basis for many years, he accepted this formalisation represented a “step change” for the profession.
“The Council is contacting all doctors as they complete their first year of activities to ensure they remain aware of their legal and professional responsibilities to maintain professional competence and are fully prepared for the monitoring and audit activities that will commence later this year,” Prof Murphy said.
He added that it was critical doctors understood that a failure to meet professional competence requirements could result in a range of sanctions, including prohibitions on their right to practise.
“In addition, as part of the registration renewal process, all doctors will now be required to confirm to the Medical Council that they are fulfilling professional competence req-uirements,” concluded Prof Murphy.
Research conducted in late 2011 found that 96 per cent of doctors agreed that professional competence activities benefited both themselves and their patients. At the time, while 91 per cent of doctors were confident that they would be able to fulfil new professional competence requirements, 20 per cent were still not aware of the amounts and types of activities they were required to undertake.