Medical Council (Ireland)
The Medical Council (Irish: Comhairle na nDochtúirí Leighis) is the regulator of the medical profession in Ireland. It maintains the register of medical practitioners to practise, and has the power to place restrictions on or revoke such licences, in cases of questions about a doctor's fitness to practise. The president of the Council is Professor Kieran Murphy, and its chief executive officer is Ms Caroline Spillane.
The objective of the Medical Council is to protect the public by promoting and better ensuring high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence among registered medical practitioners.
The Council was established by the Medical Practitioners Act 1978 and commenced operation in April 1979. It replaced an earlier body, the Medical Registration Council, which had been established under the provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act 1927, and which took over certain functions from the General Medical Council (the medical regulator for the United Kingdom.
The principal functions of the Medical Council include:
- Establishing and maintaining the register of all medical practitioners in the Republic of Ireland.
- Setting and monitoring standards for undergraduate, intern and postgraduate medical programmes and the bodies that deliver them ensuring that curricula are in line with Medical Council rules, criteria, standards and guidelines.
- Oversight of lifelong learning and skills development by ensuring that doctors maintain their professional competence by completing professional development and clinical audit activities.
- Specifying standards of practice for registered medical practitioners, including providing guidance on all matters related to professional conduct and ethics.
Services of public interest 
Managing the register of doctors
The Council provides the public with a searchable database of registered doctors. It is here where the public is able to verify that their doctor is registered to practise medicine in Ireland as well as checking their qualifications and registration status.
Lifelong learning and skills development
In May 2011, the Medical Council introduced requirements for all registered doctors to maintain their professional competence. This means that it is now a legal duty to engage in formal arrangements for lifelong learning and skills development, and the Council oversees doctors to ensure that they fulfil this duty.
Anyone can make a complaint against a doctor to the Medical Council. There is an online complaint form located on their website which can be completed and sent to the Medical Council. The Council then begins the formal complaint procedure by forwarding it to the Preliminary Proceedings Committee of the Medical Council, which considers each and every complaint made to the Council. After the Committee receives enough information about the complaint it then decides whether to take further action. If so, the complaint will be referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee for a Fitness to Practise inquiry. Alternatively, the Council could decide to take no further action, refer the complaint to another body or authority, or for mediation, or could refer the doctor for a performance assessment. More information on the complaints process can be found at: http://www.medicalcouncil.ie/Public-Information/Making-a-Complaint-/
Setting ethical standards
The Medical Council gives guidance on all matters related to professional conduct and ethics for registered doctors. Its guidance document is regularly updated - see Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Doctors.pdf.
About the Medical Council 
The Council consists of 25 members and includes both elected and appointed members. Under the provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act, 2007, the new Council is composed of 13 non-medical members and 12 medical members representing a range of medical specialties, teaching bodies and members of the public and stakeholders. All appointments must be approved by the Minister for Health. The current Council's period of office is 2008 to 2013.
The Medical Council is required by law to establish an Education and Training Committee (known as the Professional Development Committee), a Preliminary Proceedings Committee, a Fitness to Practise Committee and a Health Sub-committee. Only members of the Medical Council may be eligible to Chair the Fitness to Practise Committee and the Preliminary Proceedings Committee. The Council may establish as many committees as it considers necessary to carry out specific functions.
On 15 June 2009, the Medical Council took up residence in a new premises in Kingram House, Kingram Place, Dublin 2. Kingram House, located just off the prestigious Fitzwilliam Square, is a singularly distinctive building characterised by its interesting blend of Georgian and contemporary architecture. Front-of-house, a charming two story listed building, was once home to an infant school and links directly on to a state of the art modern office suite.
The Medical Council has a staff of over 50 who work in three directorates (Professional Development and Practice, Regulation and Finance and Administration) reporting to the Chief Executive Officer. The Council’s communications function sits within the CEO’s office.The Medical Practitioners Act 2007 sets out the functions of the CEO and Committees of the Council. It also specifies functions reserved for the Minister for Health and Children, such as agreement to the creation of new specialties. The Act gives the CEO an independent responsibility to present disciplinary inquiries to the Fitness to Practise Committee, once a decision has been made that a prima facie case exists for an enquiry. In order to carry out this function, the CEO is empowered to collect evidence and employ legal representatives to present the case.
The council is funded exclusively by the annual payments of registered medical practitioners; no funds are received from the government exchequer or other external sources. The annual retention fee for a fully registered medical practitioner was set at €490 in 2012. According to the Medical Council’s 2011 Annual Report, there were 18,812 medical practitioners, including various registration categories, registered with the Medical Council.
There were 380 new complaints against doctors received in 2011, a five percent increase. Of these new complaints, 15 doctors received sanctions and six doctors had conditions imposed on them. Eight doctors were struck off the register. 
In 2011, the Medical Council inspected 6 medical schools and 38 clinical sites. The Medical Council is responsible for setting and monitoring standards for undergraduate education and training in Ireland. This is done by establishing standards and producing guidelines on medical curriculum, content, student conduct and behaviour. The Council may fully approve, conditionally approve or refuse to approve medical schools or programmes.
“The key role of the medical council is protection of the public but We also have a role in further enhancing the relationship of trust that exists between a doctor and a patient. And one of the key ways that we do this is by setting and monitoring standards for a doctor’s conduct, for their education, for their training and their ongoing professional competence so that we ensure a high standard of doctor operates within the Irish health service”. – CEO of the Medical Council – Ms Caroline Spillane on the CEO’s Review 
- Cullen, Paul, Rise in struck-off doctors ‘no cause for concern’, The Irish Times, 14 June, 2012. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0614/1224317878642.html