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The Minister for Health has written to the Chairperson of the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) “acknowledging the need for legislative review” in relation to fitness to practise and protection of title issues, according to the council.
The Department is working on developing a detailed appraisal options paper and the Minister has deferred meeting with PHECC until this review has been finalised, it is understood.
PHECC’s council meeting in February heard of a number of “positive meetings” with Department officials on its limited regulatory powers under law, according to minutes.
As previously reported in the Medical Independent, PHECC Chairperson Dr Jacqueline Burke wrote to Minister Simon Harris in July 2018 stating that “during this year, we (PHECC) have had to explain in public that while we can set and monitor standards, we have no medium to enforce their use”.
In her letter, Dr Burke stated the failure to adequately regulate pre-hospital emergency services put the public “at risk” and posed a “significant reputational risk” to the Minister and Department.
In his response last October, Minister Harris said he had asked officials to examine the concerns.
PHECC’s council meeting in February heard it had shared with Department colleagues the contents of a letter to the Minister, following a number of positive meetings with officials. The minutes noted there was “a level of understanding and awareness of the legislative deficit and a willingness to discuss the situation”.
Dr Burke advised that the most significant topics to be addressed at a possible meeting with Minister Harris would be “the weakness in PHECC’s legislation, protection of title and the limited sanctions that PHECC can enforce in FTP [fitness to practise] matters. The importance of highlighting the risk to the public if these matters are not adequately handled is imperative.”