Medical Council v Deirdre Lohan-Mannion  IEHC 401 In a recent Judgment, Kelly P has provided further guidance on the factors that fall to be considered when the Court exercises its function under Section 76(3) of the Medical Practitioners Act, 2007. As had already been set out during the course of a previous ex tempore judgment delivered on 19 December 2016, Medical Council v M.A.G.A.  IEHC 779, the Court is mandated to confirm a decision of the Medical Counci...
Medical Council v Deirdre Lohan-Mannion  IEHC 401In a recent Judgment, Kelly P has provided further guidance on the factors that fall to be considered when the Court exercises its function under Section 76(3) of the Medical Practitioners Act, 2007. As had already been set out during the course of a previous ex tempore judgment delivered on 19 December 2016, Medical Council v M.A.G.A.  IEHC 779, the Court is mandated to confirm a decision of the Medical Council (“the Council”) as to sanction “unless it sees good reason not to do so”. This was interpreted in M.A.G.A. to mean that the Court can only refuse an order sought under Section 76(3) if it is of the view that the Council had come to a decision on sanction that was so unreasonable as to satisfy the high threshold of “Wednesbury” or “Stardust” unreasonableness (Associate Provincial Picture Houses Ltd. v Wednesbury Corporation  I KB 223; State (Keegan v Lysaght) v Stardust Victims’ Compensation Tribunal  IR 642). In the instant case, an Inquiry arising from the anaesthetic care afforded to a surgical patient who had suffered catastrophic complications had resulted in five findings of poor professional performance and two findings of professional misconduct against the consultant anaesthetist. The Fitness to Practice Committee of the Medical Council (“the Committee”) recommended that a suite of conditions aimed at “re-education and training in the management of anaesthesia” be attached to the name of the retention of the registrant’s name on the Register. The matter then went before the Medical Council who followed the recommendations of the Committee. During the subsequent application by the Medical Council pursuant to Section 76 of the 2007 Act (the respondent having chosen not to appeal the decision of the Council under Section 75 of the 2007 Act), Kelly P indicated that three issues would require further submissions before an order could be granted:
- The adequacy of the sanction recommended to the Court by the Council having regard to the findings made and evidence given to the Committee;
- Assuming that the sanction is adequate, whether the protection of the public was appropriately addressed by the respondent being permitted to continue to practise medicine whilst conditions attaching to her registration remain unfulfilled;
- Even if those two requirements were satisfied, whether notification of the imposition of these conditions in the limited way intended by the Council was adequate since individual patients coming into contact privately with the doctor (who were not deemed to be ‘employers’ for the purposes of a particular proposed condition) would not be notified by her of the conditions.
- The Medical Council is a body with considerable competence and experience in making decisions of this sort;
- Council members and Committee members undergo appropriate and regular training in this specialised field of decision making;
- Council members and Committee members have the benefit of detailed written guidance on sanctions being imposed in a document which was updated on a regular basis;
- The Medical Council expressed the paramount consideration of the protection of the public which is its statutory mandate and explained why in its view that was adequately provided for in the sanction decided upon in this matter.