Brief History

The Association began as a loose group of like-minded doctors in April 2020. The Private Hospitals Association (PHA), at the time of the anticipated Covid pandemic, signed up unilaterally to an HSE government contract without Full-time Private Practice Consultants being meaningfully involved in the decision-making process. Likewise, the medical representative associations did not become, in our opinion, robustly involved on behalf of Full-time Private practice doctors.

This HSE leased Private hospital agreement temporarily changed these Private hospitals into public only institutions. Overnight, 2.2 million patients representing 45% of the Irish population were denied their normal care pathway and doctors could not provide continuity of care.

While generally initially welcomed, as a means of addressing urgent bed capacity issues in the Public hospitals, it became immediately apparent that Consultants were unexpectedly placed under enormous state pressure to sign up to a Public only A contract preventing maintenance of continuity of patient care. This had particular relevance for those patients normally seen in the outpatient office setting. Access to inpatient care was hindered by temporary withdrawal of State indemnity. Doctors in many cases declined to sign, opting to provide pro bono care to the highest medical and ethical standards.

Doctors and Dentists campaigned and lobbied on behalf of their patients successfully engaging with TV, radio, newspapers and social media, lobbying politicians and informing the public, fortunately obtaining a satisfactory outcome. This PHA contract of indeterminate duration was rescinded after 3 months in June 2020.

Main Objectives

  • To represent the professional character and professional interests of Medical and Dental Consultants and to provide them with all relevant services to the development of a caring and effective health service, putting the patients at the centre of its activities.
  • To promote, encourage and support the advancement of the practice of private Medicine and Dentistry in all specialties and areas and the improvement of healthcare in Ireland.
  • To promote, and protect by all lawful means, the rights and interests of Medical and Dental Consultants.
  • To negotiate with relevant insurance bodies, private hospitals and relevant state entities and key stakeholders on behalf of members.
  • To raise the standards of best practice within the Medical and Dental profession and of relevant education.
  • To subscribe to and promote the aims and objectives of any society or association/organisation having similar objectives to all or any of the objectives of the Association in Ireland or elsewhere in the world to include entering into any agreements with them.
  • To procure and compile information and statistics calculated to be useful to persons engaged in the provision of Medical and Dental services and to publish such information and statistics in such a manner as may be deemed suitable.
  • To prepare, edit, publish and circulate such papers, books, journals, or other literary matters as may seem conducive to the objectives of the Association.
  • To promote, oppose or lobby on legislation pertaining to the practice of Medicine and Dentistry or related disciplines and to co-operate with other bodies where necessary or expedient to do so.
  • To promote the science of Medicine and Dentistry and the quality of public health in Ireland.
  • To defend and protect the clinical independence of the members of the Association where necessary.
  • To provide educational assistance by way of services, lectures, webinars, publications or private meetings or visits with or at the practices of Medical and Dental Consultants.
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Organisational Structure

  • The Medical and Dental Consultants Association is a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG).
  • The Association is administered by a Board of Directors composed of a President, Vice President, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer and 6 nominees two of whom are non-medical. There is always a minimum of one Dental Representative.
  • The board must have a majority of full-time Private Practice Consultants.
  • The President and Vice President must be of no less than 7 years Consultant standing. Both individuals are elected to serve one year. On retirement, the President serves on the Board for a further year. All honorary officials including the 6 nominees are elected at the Annual General Meeting. The Treasurer serves for 3 years.
  • The President chairs the Board and all general meetings, providing oversight in relation to the operations of the Association, including Finance and Governance. The President acts as a spokesperson on organisational Medical and Dental Association issues. The President represents the Association at meetings of National and International bodies as determined by the Board.
  • There is a separate Governance committee. The Governance committee is composed of 5 nominees to ensure there is independent oversight. Two are non-medical nominees one of whom is chairperson and serves on the Board of Directors. The objective of the governance committee is to ensure best practice is observed at all times.
  • The Association on a day-to-day basis is administered by the General Secretary who reports to the Board and does not have voting rights. The General Secretary’s role is to manage the development and implementation of agreed strategies approved by the Board. This includes corporate, membership and risk management goals respectively.
  • The General Secretary manages the development and implementation of financial budgetary policy and ensures that the Board are promptly informed of any issues which may arise that could impact upon the Association.
  • Likewise, the General Secretary is responsible for ensuring that the Association’s profile is enhanced by PR initiatives while representing the Association at National and International Bodies as requested by the Board.
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Current MDCA Officers (2023)

President: John Curran

Vice-President: Rory O’ Hanlon

Honorary Secretary: Edward Cotter

Executive Board (Committee):

  • Paul G Murphy (Hon Treasurer)
  • Arthur Cummings
  • Asam Ishtiaq
  • Maeve Durkan
  • John Clarke

Governance Committee:

  • Orla Conlon
  • Helen Hegarty
  • Mark Mulhern