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Minister Harris said, “the regulation of these professions will ensure greater protection of the public as those registered must comply with a code of professional conduct and ethics and will be subject to fitness to practice.”
These regulations establish one registration board for the professions and create two new professional positions on the Health and Social Care Professionals Council.
The Minister advised that, “registrants will have minimum qualifications and only those registered will be entitled to use the title or titles protected under the Act. Registrants will be subject to a range of sanctions (including suspension or cancellation of registration) in the case of a substantiated complaint of professional misconduct or poor professional performance.” The Minister’s decision to regulate the professions of counsellor and psychotherapist came on foot of consultation with the Health and Social Care Professionals Council, followed by a wider public consultation. These regulations were laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 9 November 2017. The Joint Committee on Health met to consider the regulations on 7 March 2018, and they were subsequently approved by both houses on 22 March 2018.
The Minister noted, “I am conscious of the work done to date by a number of professional bodies and interested parties in seeking to have these professions regulated by the State. Work is now ongoing on the appointment of the 13 member registration board following an advertisement campaign by the Public Appointments Service in the coming weeks and the submission of suitable candidates for my consideration for appointment.”