Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
115. Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on a newspaper article (details supplied); her plans to address this situation; if she has communicated with the Medical Council on this matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12423/09]
Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): Under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, disciplinary matters affecting registered medical practitioners are entirely a matter for consideration by the Medical Council and I have no role or function in such matters.
When a medical practitioner has been erased in another jurisdiction, the Medical Council does not have the power to automatically erase that practitioner’s name from the register without holding an inquiry carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007. This is a constitutional matter which has previously been ruled on by the Supreme Court.
The Medical Council has established a system of information exchange with the UK General Medical Council whereby the relevant information arising from the outcome of all disciplinary procedures affecting a registered medical practitioner’s registration, in either jurisdiction, is exchanged, unless, in the case of the Medical Council, it is prevented from doing so by the High Court. The Council is notified of a decision when a medical practitioner has been erased from the register by the General Medical Council in the UK. The Council then considers the matter in accordance with the Medical Practitioners Act 2007. This exchange of information is undertaken in accordance with Article 56 of EU Directive 2005/36/EC, in which the competent authorities for such matters in each member state are required to exchange information regarding disciplinary action or criminal sanctions taken against individual practitioners.
Account was taken of the Supreme Court ruling in the preparation of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007. Section 66(3) of the Act provides that the Fitness to Practise Committee may receive evidence given orally before the committee, by affidavit or by means of a live video link, a video recording, a sound recording or any other mode of transmission. One intention of this provision was to make it easier for witnesses to give evidence in situations where they might be unable or unwilling to travel to the State for that purpose.
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