Press Release

Minister O´Malley attends the annual conference of the Psychological Society of Ireland

Mr Tim O´Malley, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children today (Friday, 21st November) attended the dinner of the annual conference of the Psychological Society of Ireland at Fitzpatrick´s Hotel, Bunratty, Co Clare.

The Minister took the opportunity to acknowledge the important role the psychologist plays in the health service and highlighted the essential role of the psychologist in delivering a wide array of services to a broad range of care groups. The important role that the Psychological Society of Ireland plays in advancing and diffusing knowledge on psychology was recognised.

Minister O´Malley emphasised the Department´s commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Joint Review Group on Psychological Services in the Health Service, which was published in March 2002. Steps taken by the Department to improve the provision of clinical psychology training were highlighted as were efforts undertaken to improve staffing levels in the psychological services at local and national level.

The Minister spoke about the Department´s proposals to introduce a system of statutory registration for a range of health and social care professions which will include psychologists. The primary purpose of statutory registration is to protect and guide members of the public so that they can be fully confident that the professional treating them is competent and of good standing. This is pivotal to realising the Health Strategy objective of providing quality and accountable health care to the public. The Bill to establish the system of statutory registration is being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and it is expected to be published during the next Dáil session.

The recent Health Service Reform Programme was also highlighted by the Minister as a programme whose impact will be felt by all health service providers. The Reform Programme´s priority focus is improved patient care, better value for taxpayers´ money and improved health care management. It deals with a range of changes in governance, accountability, planning, financial management and control systems which will really be the key to achieving the real change that the public, the patient and the client expect of the health system in today´s world.