Dáil Éireann - Volume 630 - 31 January, 2007

Written Answers. - Health Service Staff.

Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will address the problem of social workers being found to be lacking in their professional skills; if and when she will rectify this problem; the way she will rectify this problem; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2187/07]

  Ms Harney: The Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 provides for a new regulatory system for twelve health and social care professionals, including social workers. The establishment of this system of statutory registration is essential to the delivery of the quality and accountability objectives of the Health Strategy and will ensure that members of the public are guided, protected and informed, so that they can be confident that health and social care professionals providing services are properly qualified, competent and fit to practise. This is the first time that fitness to practise procedures will be put in place for these professionals on a statutory basis and will provide a modern structure to deal effectively with complaints and other disciplinary matters.

The legislation provides for the establishment of a Health and Social Care Professionals Council, whose object will be to protect the public by promoting high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence among registrants of the designated professions.

[685] I will shortly be announcing the membership of the Council which is provided for in the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005. Following the appointment of the Council, work will commence on the establishment of each of the registration boards including the Social Worker Registration Board. It will be a matter for the Council, having regard to the establishment of the individual boards, to put in place the fitness to practise structure.