Press Release

Ministers announce significant expansion in professional therapy training places

175 extra places for students provided

The Minister for Education and Science, Dr. Michael Woods, T.D., and the Minister for Health and Children, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D., today (29 May 2002) announced the provision of 175 extra professional therapy training places for students to tackle the acute shortage of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists in the health service.

This dramatic move almost doubles the number of therapy places available at present. The first intake to the extra places is expected to commence in the 2002/03 academic year.

Dr. Woods said, “I am providing these training places in response to the recommendations contained in the report of Dr. Peter Bacon and Associates on current and future supply and demand conditions in the labour market for physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists. The Beacon Report concludes that a major expansion in the numbers of therapy professionals is essential over the next fifteen years. It recommended an annual increase of 75 training places for both speech and language therapy and occupational therapy and an additional 25 training places in physiotherapy.”

Minister Martin said, “The scale of the expansion is hugely significant. It represents almost a doubling of the professional therapy training places previously available. This initiative clearly demonstrates my commitment and that of the Government to tackle skills shortages and to provide top class services for all our people particularly those who are most vulnerable with health difficulties or special needs”.

An Inter-Agency Working Group, comprising representatives of his Department, the Department of Health and Children and the Higher Education Authority, was established to seek proposals from third level institutions to ensure the rapid provision of the additional places as an urgent priority.

Following the Report of the Inter-Agency Working Group, Dr. Woods agreed to provide extra professional therapy training places in:

University College Cork, National University of Ireland -Cork

  • 25 places – Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Therapy
  • 25 places – Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy

National University of Ireland, Galway

  • 25 places – Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Therapy
  • 25 places – Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy

University of Limerick

  • 25 places – Master of Science in Speech and Language Therapy
  • 25 places – Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
  • 25 places – Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy