Dáil Éireann - Volume 522 - 29 June, 2000

Written Answers. - Professional Bodies.

152. Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Health and Children the situation with regard to allied health professionals and their statutory registration; the reason the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists have not been consulted and recognised; the reason trained professionals with worldwide qualifications are being sidelined, and groups without proper international criteria, training and expertise are being given official recognition which will lead to a lowering of standards and a drop in the service level provided; if he will undertake to proceed in a co-operative approach with rigorous examination of all non-qualified practitioners before registration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19093/00]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Discussions in relation to the statutory registration of certain allied health professionals are ongoing with the professional bodies representing these professions. The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists in Ireland has been consulted and is involved in this process. However, an invitation extended to the society to attend a workshop on 14 April 2000 was apparently not received by the society. Consequently, a separate meeting was organised by officials of my Department with officers of the society and the society has been involved in the two subsequent workshops. I am committed to the full participation of all of the relevant professional bodies in the process.

The second issue raised by the Deputy refers to the implementation of the terms of a High Court settlement which I am obliged to implement. On 22 June, officials of my Department met with the society and the other two professional bodies representing chiropodists in Ireland to discuss same. It was stated at this meeting that while my Department wishes to move forward with the agreement of the professional bodies, I am bound by the terms of the High Court settlement. My primary concern in the implementation of this settlement is the protection of the public and this will be achieved by ensuring that only those with a suitable competence will be able to practice in the public health service.