Medical Council received 369 complaints about doctors last year

The council's annual report shows 20,473 doctors were registered at the end of 2015

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File photo. Image: Andrew Matthews / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Complaints against doctors have risen by almost a fifth in the past year according to the Medical Council.

Its annual report claims 369 complaints were received about doctors in 2015.

Communication appears to be a growing problem, with a 40% rise in the numbers complaining about it.

Five doctors were struck off the register last year - that is up from just one doctor in 2014.

Image: Medical Council

In total, 20,473 doctors were registered with the Medical Council at the end of 2015 - the highest number the council has recorded.

Around 2,600 doctors registered for the first time last year, while the exit rate of doctors increased slightly to 6.4%.

Speaking about the report, Medical Council CEO Bill Prasifka said: “Although it is of course very positive that there are the highest number of doctors on the register ever it must be noted that, the significance of other factors cannot be underestimated.

"The purpose of sharing this report is to enhance the capacity and capability to effectively plan, develop and maintain a strong and sustainable medical workforce. We need motivated healthcare teams in the right place at the right time as well as strategic policy frameworks which support and foster the patient-doctor relationship."

Mr Prasifka also observed that while males continue to dominate the medical profession as a whole, "there have been more Irish female graduates entering the medical profession than their male counterparts" since the council started compiling data.

62% of graduates aged between 25 and 34 from Irish medical schools were female, while the majority of doctors on the register in the 30-44 age group are female.