Written answers

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Department of Health

Health Care Professionals

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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167. To ask the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the protection of the title physical therapist; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40940/15]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin South, Independent)
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175. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to introduce regulations to protect the professional names of physical therapy and physiotherapy for medically qualified physiotherapists, thus bringing Ireland into line with the international professional body for physiotherapists and the world confederation for physical therapy; why this has not been done to date; his views that the failure to clearly regulate the use of such terms confuses the general public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40974/15]

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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198. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to protect the public by protecting the titles of physiotherapist and physical therapists in one register under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005; his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41123/15]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Minister, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 167, 175 and 198 together.

I expect that the Physiotherapists Registration Board will soon make the necessary by-laws under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 to allow it to establish its register early next year. On this basis, the title of physiotherapist will be protected for the exclusive use of the board's registrants when the register's 2 year transitional period ends in 2018.

I am currently examining the issue of also protecting the title of physical therapist under the Act. In other English speaking countries, the title of physical therapist is often used by physiotherapists. In Ireland, however, the title is used by a number of practitioners who are not physiotherapists but who are competing with physiotherapists in the private sector in the provision of musculoskeletal therapies.

Earlier this year I wrote to a number of relevant organisations regarding my proposal to protect the title of physical therapist as a variant of the title of physiotherapist and invited them to submit their views. The submissions are now being examined and I expect that I will make a decision on the matter before the end of the year. As you can appreciate there are many factors to consider. However, I can assure the House that my main concern will be to protect the public when it comes to decisions on this matter.

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)
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168. To ask the Minister for Health if he has considered the views of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy in relation to the upcoming regulation of these professions, given the association's statement that there is no difference between counselling and psychotherapy, and that these professions should be regulated by the same qualifications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40941/15]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Minister, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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Psychotherapists and counsellors are not currently regulated under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005. However, the Act provides that the Minister for Health may, by regulation, designate a health and social care profession not already designated if he or she considers that it is appropriate and in the public interest to do so and if specified criteria have been met.

In accordance with the Act, the Health and Social Care Professionals Council has been consulted on the question of regulating counsellors and psychotherapists. Its detailed report on the matter is being examined carefully in my Department with a view to deciding the next steps in the coming months. These steps will, I envisage, include a wider round of consultation involving the various professional bodies, including the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and other interested parties.

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