Wednesday, 2 November 2005
Dáil Éireann Debate
214. Mr. Connolly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that her Department’s minimum requirements for the practise of psychology as set out in her 2002 declaration and as recommended by the Psychological Society of Ireland are seriously undermined by the current Health and Social Care Professionals Bill 2004, which stipulates that a recognised university degree or diploma obtained with first or second class honours in which psychology was taken as a major subject, and honours obtained in that subject is sufficient to be included on the register of psychologists with no reference to a postgraduate qualification in psychology; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31425/05]
Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): The Health and Social Care Professionals Bill 2004 provides for the establishment of a system of statutory registration for certain health and social care professionals, including psychologists, whether they are employed in the public service, the private health sector or are self employed. Under section 38, responsibility for the approval of qualifications attesting to the standard of proficiency required for registration will rest with the psychologists’ registration board to be established under the Bill.
The qualifications referred to by the Deputy are those listed for existing practitioners as part of the transitional arrangements set out in the Bill for their registration. These arrangements will apply for a period of two years from the establishment of a register and include the provision that practitioners who hold a stated qualification and who have been in practice at any time during a period of five years before the establishment of a register shall be granted registration. A practitioner must also satisfy the registration board that he or she is a fit and proper person to engage in the practice of that profession.
The stated qualification for psychologists under the transitional arrangements for the registration of existing practitioners is a recognised university degree or diploma obtained with first or second class honours in which psychology was taken as a major subject and honours obtained in that subject. As indicated by the Deputy, this does not reflect the current qualifications required of persons recruited as psychologists within the public health service as, since 2002, psychologists recruited to the public health service have been required to hold a post graduate qualification.
The qualification set out in the Bill for psychologists under the transitional arrangements is instead designed to take proper account of those practitioners previously recruited to the public health service and also those who are practising elsewhere who may not hold a post graduate qualification.
The current provisions in the Bill for the registration of practising psychologists are appropriate in the context of a transitional period and having regard to arrangements in the public health service prior to 2002. I am conscious that any registrant — whether registered under the transitional provisions or otherwise — who does not meet the standard of proficiency and competence expected of registered professionals will be subject to the complaints, inquiries and disciplinary procedures set out in the Bill. The Bill represents a significant step forward in the protection of the public.
|Last Updated: 10/08/2011 14:09:19||Page of 419|