Wednesday, 11 May 2005
Registration of Medical Practitioners.
Liam Twomey (Wexford, Fine Gael)
There is no point in rejigging the council unless it is backed up by a proper legislative position. The 1978 Act is totally inadequate today. In this House we have discussed the case of a medical practitioner who abused his position and the case of an alternative practitioner who in effect cost a person's life. Doctors and the Medical Council have called for a change to the Medical Practitioners Act because it does not work in today's world. For example, in regard to the distinction between doctors and alternative practitioners, no doctor can wilfully prescribe a placebo to a patient.
Under the Act, the Medical Council could strike off a doctor for prescribing a sugar pill. However, much of what alternative practitioners distribute is no more than a placebo. There is no regulation of the alternative health industry. The Tánaiste must introduce the necessary legislation not only for medical practitioners who are trained doctors and who, usually for financial reasons, prescribe dubious treatments, but also to regulate alternative practitioners.
The latter want to be regulated. Many of those who practise reiki or other alternative therapies such as acupuncture want regulation because they want to keep the cowboys out of their industry too. This is one area of society in which people call for greater regulation.