Doctors want disciplinary hearings to be held in private

IMO to debate motion in favour of anonymity until adverse findings are made

Doctors will also debate a motion endorsing e-cigarettes as a tool for giving up smoking. Photograph: iStock

Doctors will also debate a motion endorsing e-cigarettes as a tool for giving up smoking. Photograph: iStock

 

Doctors are seeking radical changes to the Medical Council that would lead to disciplinary hearings against members of the profession being held in private.

The identity of doctors under investigation by the council should remain protected until such time as an adverse finding is made against them, a motion to the annual conference of the Irish Medical Organisation proposes.

The motion says a “tiered” complaints process should be introduced so that complaints against doctors are categorised according to their level of severity.

Fitness-to-practise hearings, which are mostly held in public at present, should in future be held in camera, according to the proposal.

The conference, which opens in Galway on Thursday under the theme Dying for Investment, is likely to be dominated by calls for more spending on health services, pay issues and ongoing talks on drawing up a new GP contract. The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, is due to address delegates on Saturday.

Another motion proposes the creation of an oversight committee for the Medical Council made up entirely of doctors to ensure it is delivering a cost-effective service. The council is funded by annual fees of registered doctors.

Delegates are want for the Department of Health to establish an independent regulator to ensure health-service managers are held “to the same level of regulatory oversight as doctors”.

The conference will debate motions calling for an automatic driving ban for all drink-driving offences, including first offences; the endorsement of e-cigarettes as a tool for smoking cessation; and the right of GPs to be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis as part of any future liberalisation of existing laws.