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Professional Competence

 What is Professional Competence?

Professional Competence is a formal way of recording your lifelong learning as a doctor and highlighting your dedication to developing and maintaining key skills and competencies throughout your medical career.

Are you registered with the Irish Medical Council?

If you are registered on the Supervised, General or Specialist Division of the Irish Medical Council  Register, you are required to be enrolled on a Professional Competence Scheme. You must be enrolled in order to demonstrate you are actively maintaining your Professional Competence in a manner recognised by the Irish Medical Council.

When you apply to retain your registration with the Irish Medical Council, you are required to declare the name of your Professional Competence Scheme and the date you enrolled, or renewed your enrolment, on that scheme.  Failure to make this declaration will place your continuing registration at risk.



If you are participating in a Higher Specialist or Basic Specialist training programme, you are not required to enrol on a Professional Competence scheme.

If you are planning to join a training programme, you should be enrolled on a Professional Competence scheme until the training programme start date.

We are happy to advise you on this.


Yes. If you hold Specialist, General or Supervised registration with the Medical Council, you must maintain your Professional Competence.  

Our Guide for Retired Doctors explains how to match your current scope of practice to your Professional Competence requirements.


Many doctors, for various reasons, do not practise medicine for a certain period of time during their career. Leave from practice can have an impact on your ability to meet the legal minimum professional competence requirements and this may then be reflected on your Annual Statement of Participation.

Examples of circumstances that may result in a shortfall in minimum requirements are:

  • Maternity leave
  • Certified sick leave of three months or longer

Where possible, you should maintain some level of engagement in maintenance of your professional competence while on leave.

What to do if you are on long-term sick leave or maternity leave

  • Inform us of the circumstances as soon as possible
  • Keep supporting documentation or information. The Medical Council may ask to see this if you are selected for its Maintenance of Professional Competence Audit

We will record your absence. If your absence has occurred for three months or more during the professional competence year (which runs from 1st May to 30th April), the reported absence will be recorded on your Annual Statement of Participation.

If you are on Sabbatical or Extended Holidays

If you remain on the Medical Council register while on sabbatical or extended holiday, you are expected to continue to meet your professional competence requirements.

The Medical Council does not operate a system where a doctor who may not be practising and therefore unable to meet the professional competence requirements can stay on the register. If absence from practice is going to have an impact on your ability to meet professional competence requirements, you should consider whether or not to remain on the register.

If you do not practice medicine and do not intend to practise medicine for the foreseeable future, the Medical Council advises that you voluntarily withdraw from the register.


You must pay the annual renewal fee for Professional Competence in order to stay enrolled on your Professional Competence Scheme. The Medical Council will ask you to confirm your enrolment on its Annual Retention Form.  

How to renew your enrolment

  • You can pay online through your RCPI Digital Hub - when you have made your online payment you will receive an automated receipt which is the evidence of enrolment required by the Medical Council
  • You can set up a direct debit to pay your annual fee once a year from now on - download a Direct Debit Mandate form
  • Pay over the phone with your Visa/Mastercard debit or credit card. Call the RCPI Helpdesk on 01 8639721 and have your  RCPI ID number and credit card details to hand
  • We can invoice your employer. Call the RCPI Helpdesk on 01 8639721 and have your RCPI ID number to hand