Wednesday, 7 February 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
119. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if he has satisfied himself that the ad hoc committee for assessing the professional competence of chiropodists is capable of making a satisfactory assessment; his views on the professional qualifications of those on the assessment committees; and his further views on the procedures for testing competence among those whose qualifications are not up to the level now required for entry to the profession. [3311/01]
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): I presume the Deputy is referring to the introduction of a revised assessment mechanism for chiropodists who wish to work in the public health sector. Following the settlement of a High Court case in November 1999, officials of my Department have been involved in discussions with the professional bodies representing chiropodists in Ireland with a view to agreeing the details of how such a revised assessment mechanism should be implemented.
The revised assessment mechanism is being introduced in the context of the introduction of a system of statutory registration for a number of health and social care professions, including chiropodists. The aim of the revised mechanism is to ensure all who wish to practise as a chiropodist in the public health sector are suitably qualified to do so. These new measures will not result in the lowering of standards and those whose qualifications are not deemed suitable will be given an opportunity to upskill themselves. Only those whose qualifications are deemed suitable for public sector employment will be involved in carrying out the assessment procedure.
120. Mr. P. Carey asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the significant number of chiropodists who are being forced to withdraw from dealing with medical card patients due to the unacceptably long delays in issuing payments in respect of services provided. [3320/01]
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Health boards provide, under the GMS scheme, chiropody services through a panel of private practitioners on the basis of three treatments per annum for medical card holders over 65 years of age. I am not aware of any potential withdrawal  of services by the chirpodists to these patients. If the Deputy is aware of any specific case or complaint, I will be happy to have the matter examined by the relevant health board.
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