Wednesday, 11 May 2005
Registration of Medical Practitioners.
Mary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
The Medical Practitioners Act deals with the medical profession and will greatly strengthen and enhance the powers of the council. We want to maintain self-regulation in this and other areas of health care because it is more appropriate and does not involve the State carrying the cost of the regulatory regime. The Health and Social Care Professionals Bill will provide for a host of people to be brought under regulation but practitioners of alternative therapies might not easily be classified under a professional title.
There is a role for the Garda Síochána. We have strong laws regarding fraud. If people are told they will be cured of cancer on payment of €17,000 per treatment, as happened in some cases I came across last week, it is worthy of investigation from a criminal perspective. Many people are fooling very vulnerable citizens who have illnesses into paying large sums of money. Desperate people will do desperate things and these people are extraordinarily convincing. Very smart people can be fooled by them and the criminal law needs to take effect in this area.