Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Health

Health Services Staff

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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344. To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to an "RTÉ Investigates" report (details supplied) in relation to unregulated "psychologists" in the private sector; the reason this profession remains unregulated by CORU; the expected timeline for regulation of this profession; the steps he is taking to address this matter in the interim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12158/23]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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As the Deputy will be aware, CORU is Ireland’s multi-profession health and social care regulator. CORU’s role is to protect the public by regulating the health and social care professions designated under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (as amended), including setting the standards that health and social care professionals must meet to be eligible for registration and maintaining registers of persons who meet those standards.

Seventeen health and social care professions are designated for regulation by CORU. There are currently registers open for ten professions and CORU is continuing the substantial work required to open the registers for the remaining designated professions of Podiatrists; Social Care Workers; Psychologists; Counsellors and Psychotherapists; Clinical Biochemists; and Orthoptists.

The Psychologists Registration Board (PSRB) was established in 2017. The work of the PSRB includes consideration of the titles to be protected, the minimum qualifications to be required of existing practitioners, the qualifications that will be required for future graduates, and drafting the Standards of Proficiency and Criteria for Education and Training Programmes.

In 2020 a public consultation on the draft Standards of Proficiency and Criteria for Education and Training Programmes developed for the profession revealed significant issues and a lack of consensus on how to proceed with regulation. Having reached an impasse, CORU wrote to me on behalf of the PSRB in 2021 seeking guidance on how to proceed. I wrote to CORU in August 2022 requesting the PSRB consider a dual-stream and phased approach to regulating the profession, which would allow the PSRB to prioritise regulating psychology specialisms which present the greatest risk to public safety, while simultaneously continuing to work towards the long-term objective of protecting the title of ‘Psychologist’.

The PSRB have conducted an assessment of which specialisms should be prioritised for regulation using an evidence and risk-based approach. On Friday 3 March CORU wrote to me on behalf of the PSRB with their recommendations. I am considering these views with the goal of advancing this work as quickly as possible.

Owing to the significant body of preparatory work that the PSRB is required to undertake, it is not possible to say with any degree of accuracy when the psychology profession will be fully regulated. It is anticipated that the PSRB will require a number of years to complete its work.

CORU, the PSRB, and my Department are fully committed to delivering regulation of this very important profession.


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