Retired medical practitioners are subject to the same professional competence requirements as all other practising doctors, according to the Irish Medical Council (IMC). This means that any retired doctor wishing to retain registration for the purpose of practising medicine is obliged to fulfil their statutory duty to maintain professional competence.
There are no special requirements for doctors working less than full-time, or on an occasional basis.
Once registered with the IMC, a doctor has the right to practise medicine. From the public perspective, the responsibility to maintain professional competence must apply to all doctors, regardless of their working arrangements. Therefore, all doctors on the register have a duty to maintain professional competence by enrolling in a PCS and engaging in the maintenance of professional competence activities as defined by the IMC.
There are two scenarios for retired doctors:
- Fully retired – in that the retired practitioner no longer sees patients and is no longer engaged in any activity that requires registration with the IMC.
- Occasionally sees patients or is engaged in activities that require the practitioner to be registered with the IMC (e.g. teaching, tutoring, medico-legal work, professional advisor etc.)
If you are a fully retired practitioner, you may find it difficult to meet the professional competence requirements as set out by the IMC. Therefore, you may wish to consider voluntarily withdrawing from the register. The current IMC guidelines are available on the Council's website and you may also find it useful to contact the IMC Professional Competence Scheme section.
If you are retired but occasionally see patients and/or are involved in academic or medico-legal work, you are obliged to fulfil your statutory duty to maintain professional competence. Therefore, you will need to work within the current system to accumulate sufficient credits. The categories that cause the most difficulty for retired doctors are the 'Internal' category and 'Audit'.
RCSI will continue to work with retired doctors and the IMC in order to make it as easy as possible for registered medical practitioners to meet their professional competence requirements.