Press Release

Tánaiste announces the publication of the Health and Social Care Professionals Bill

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, T.D., today (28 October 2004) announced the publication of the Health and Social Care Professionals Bill 2004, which provides for the establishment of a system of statutory registration for health and social care professionals.  This legislation is a key action in the Health Strategy, Quality and Fairness, to expand and strengthen the regulatory environment in the health sector.

Announcing the publication of the Bill, the Tánaiste said “the purpose of establishing this regulatory system is to ensure that members of the public are guided, protected and informed so that they can be confident that health and social care professionals providing services are properly qualified, competent and fit to practise.”

The Tánaiste described the system of statutory regulation proposed in the Health and Social Care Professionals Bill as an open and transparent one, characterised by strong public interest representation, which will serve to enhance the quality and accountability of health and social care services provided to the public.

The Tánaiste also said “I consider a system of legal registration for health and social care professionals essential to the development of the quality and accountability objectives of the Health Strategy.”

The system of statutory registration will apply, in the first instance, to 12 health and social care professions (i.e. chiropodists, clinical biochemists, dietitians, medical scientists, occupational therapists, orthoptists, physiotherapists, psychologists, radiographers, social care professionals, social workers and speech and language therapists) irrespective of whether they work in the public or private sector or are self-employed.

This is the first of three pieces of legislation to reform the regulatory environment for health professions, with legislation for medical practitioners and nurses to follow.

View a PDF copy of the Bill (1.1 MB)