Health and Social Care Professionals Bill 2004 [Seanad]: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage.

Thursday, 10 November 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 609 No. 73

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Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. S. Power): Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 9:

Amendment put.

[1637]The Dáil divided: Tá, 53; Níl, 41.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry. Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán.
Information on Martin Brady  Zoom on Martin Brady  Brady, Martin. Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Carty, John.
Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  Cassidy, Donie. Information on Michael Collins  Zoom on Michael Collins  Collins, Michael.
Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Síle de Valera  Zoom on Síle de Valera  de Valera, Síle. Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel.
Information on John Dennehy  Zoom on John Dennehy  Dennehy, John. Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán. Information on Jim Glennon  Zoom on Jim Glennon  Glennon, Jim.
Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán. Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire.
Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Jacob, Joe. Information on Cecilia Keaveney  Zoom on Cecilia Keaveney  Keaveney, Cecilia.
Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy. Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter.
Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony. Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus.
Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom. Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian.
Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  McGuinness, John.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  Martin, Micheál. Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John.
Information on Donal Moynihan  Zoom on Donal Moynihan  [1639]Moynihan, Donal. Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael.
Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M. J. Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie. Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie.
Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  O’Donoghue, John. Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt.
Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Ned. Information on Fiona O'Malley  Zoom on Fiona O'Malley  O’Malley, Fiona.
Information on Tom Parlon  Zoom on Tom Parlon  Parlon, Tom. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Mae Sexton  Zoom on Mae Sexton  Sexton, Mae. Information on Michael Smith  Zoom on Michael Smith  Smith, Michael.
Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Walsh, Joe. Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.
Information on G. V. Wright  Zoom on G. V. Wright  Wright, G.V.  


[1639]Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan.
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  Connolly, Paudge.
Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe. Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour.
Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus. Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe.
Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda. Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen.
Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  Zoom on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda. Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim.
Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Pattison, Seamus. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairi. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  Ryan, Seán.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.  

[1639]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Neville and Stagg.

[1639]Amendment declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Amendment No. 10 cannot be moved.

Amendment No. 10 not moved.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 11:

[1640]

Amendment put.

[1639]The Dáil divided: Tá, 50; Níl, 37.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry. Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán.
Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  Brennan, Seamus. Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Carty, John.
Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  Cassidy, Donie. Information on Michael Collins  Zoom on Michael Collins  Collins, Michael.
Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Síle de Valera  Zoom on Síle de Valera  de Valera, Síle.
Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel. Information on John Dennehy  Zoom on John Dennehy  Dennehy, John.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
Information on Jim Glennon  Zoom on Jim Glennon  Glennon, Jim. Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Jacob, Joe.
Information on Cecilia Keaveney  Zoom on Cecilia Keaveney  Keaveney, Cecilia. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Donal Moynihan  Zoom on Donal Moynihan  Moynihan, Donal.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M.J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  O’Donoghue, John.
Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Ned.
Information on Fiona O'Malley  Zoom on Fiona O'Malley  O’Malley, Fiona. Information on Tom Parlon  Zoom on Tom Parlon  Parlon, Tom.
Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter. Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán.
Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  [1641]Roche, Dick. Information on Mae Sexton  Zoom on Mae Sexton  Sexton, Mae.
Information on Michael Smith  Zoom on Michael Smith  Smith, Michael. Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Walsh, Joe.
Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael. Information on G. V. Wright  Zoom on G. V. Wright  Wright, G.V.



[1641]Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan.
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  Connolly, Paudge.
Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe. Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour.
Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda. Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen.
Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  Zoom on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda. Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Pattison, Seamus. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairí. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  Ryan, Seán.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.  

[1641]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Neville and Stagg.

[1641]Amendment declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Amendment No. 12 is out of order. Amendment No. 13 has already been discussed.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I received no notification of that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Notification left my office signed by my good self.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Why was it ruled out of order?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  On the grounds that it does not arise out of Committee Stage proceedings.

Amendment No. 12 not moved.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 13:

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I draw the attention of the House to an error in section 4(4)(d) page 10, line 15 where the word “continuous” should be “continuing”. I ask the Ceann Comhairle to instruct the——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Does that change arise out of an amendment or is it on the section?

[1642]Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I am asking the Ceann Comhairle to instruct the clerk to make a technical correction.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  A correction will be made. Amendment No. 15 is an alternative to amendment No. 14, amendments Nos. 16 and 25 are related and amendment No. 26 is an alternative to amendment No. 25. Amendments Nos. 14 to 16, inclusive, 25 and 26 will be discussed together.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 14:

Following the Committee Stage debate, further consideration was given to the proposals to lay council rules and registration board by-laws before the Houses of the Oireachtas. I am pleased to propose amendments dealing with this matter. Amendment No. 14 provides for the health and social care professionals council to publish its rules and submit them to the Minister for laying before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Section 95 deals with the Minister’s power to make regulations and amendment No. 16 provides that subsections (4) to (6), inclusive, of section 95 apply with the necessary modifications to rules of the council submitted to the Minister [1643]in accordance with this section as if they were regulations made by the Minister.

Section 32 provides for the publication and other requirements relating to draft and other by-laws made by registration boards. Amendment No. 25 amends this section to provide for registration boards to publish by-laws and submit them to the Minister for laying before each House. Subsections (4) to (6), inclusive, of section 95 will apply with the necessary modifications to the by-laws of registration boards submitted to the Minister in accordance with this section and regulations made by the Minister. I trust this meets Deputy McManus’s requirements and that in the circumstances she will appreciate that I do not propose to accept her amendment.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  It is a pity that the Minister of State does not accept my amendment No. 15 because it provides parliamentary accountability and a mechanism which is very reasonable. I am surprised that the Minister of State does not see it that way.

We have a health service which is now stripped of almost all accountability. The systems in place under the former health board system provided for some kind of scrutiny, albeit flawed, at local level. We must now be very conscious that at national level there must be enhanced forms of accountability and that is the purpose of my amendment. I regret that the Minister of State will not accept it.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  We have given the matter serious consideration and I have explained clearly the reasons we cannot accept the Deputy’s amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Amendment No. 15 cannot be moved.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Why not?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It was an alternative. Since amendment No. 14 has been agreed to, amendment No. 15 cannot be moved.

Amendment No. 15 not moved.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 16:

Amendment agreed to.

[1644]Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I move amendment No. 17:

I am pleased that this amendment has not been ruled out of order. We need transparency and openness. The register should be available and open for inspection by the public. That is what I seek to achieve in this amendment which inserts after the word “profession”, “and each register shall be available for inspection by members of the public”. That intent should be explicitly included in the terms of the Bill. If included, there can be no doubt as to the public’s right of access and the guarantee of that right. I acknowledge that Deputy Twomey has presented a similar wording and on behalf of both of us I ask the Minister of State to accept the amendment and live up to the spirit of transparency and openness essential in the progress of this legislation.

Mr. Neville: Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  I support the amendment in the names of Deputies Ó Caoláin and Twomey. This is a reasonable proposal which should be uncontroversial. I do not see any reason the public should not be able to inspect the register. The amendment would facilitate openness and transparency. I do not understand why any professional would not be happy to have an inspection of the register with that professional’s name on it. I cannot see any reason that should not be accepted and see many good reasons it should be on the basis of ensuring and greatly helping with the credibility of the register. On that basis I support the amendment.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  Regarding Deputy Neville’s assertion that the register should be available for inspection by the public, the Medical Council register of doctors is available on-line. One can see if a doctor is registered with the Medical Council. Doctors did not object to their names being made public but to their home addresses being given on the register. They were agreeable to having their professional addresses listed. Accordingly, there is no problem in having the names of professionals listed with their professional addresses. People can then check to see that those people are on an official register rather than merely accepting what is indicated by plaques on professionals’ office walls.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  The issue of access to registers is already dealt with in the Bill. Section 46(1)(a) states that a registration board shall make its register available to members of the public at all reasonable times. This meets the requirements of both Deputies and therefore I do not propose to accept the amendment.

[1645]Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I am disappointed with the response of the Minister of State. I do not know if he has expressed his own view or if he is simply trundling out the text offered. As a member of the medical profession, Deputy Twomey has put the case well. That demonstrates clearly that not only I, as member of the public, and he, as a member of the medical profession, but a great many others believe that we should ensure full transparency and openness. That requires access to the register in all these cases. It is imperative.

We had an earlier discussion regarding the listed professions under the terms of this legislation. There are people established in different areas of medical practice, not within the listed professions but among others to which I have alluded, in whose case a plaque on a wall is all it amounts to. There is no way in which the public can properly establish with ease the qualifications and suitability for practice of any person presenting. We have echoes of these difficulties with regard to the qualifications of people currently being addressed in the media. In this situation, a register should be open and a straightforward argument for such access deserves support. I cannot understand the rejection of the proposition by the Minister of State and I ask for his reconsideration.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Section 46 of the Bill deals with access to and publication of registers. Section 46(1) states that a registration board shall:

I hear what Deputy Ó Caoláin says but, in fairness, the amendments being proposed by Deputies Twomey and Ó Caoláin are unnecessary and add nothing to the Bill that is not already included in it. Therefore, we cannot accept the amendment.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  Will a register of people and their professional addresses be made available on the Internet? Is that stated in section 46(b)?

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Yes.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  At all times?

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Yes.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Is amendment No. 17 being pressed?

[1646]Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Yes, because the point is to make it explicit within the legislation.

Amendment put and declared lost.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Amendments Nos. 18 and 19 are related and may be discussed together.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  I move amendment No. 18:

The council overseas all 12 registration bodies, each of which receives and considers complaints. However, I understand that complaints are forwarded to the council only where the outcome is negative for a member. A list of all complaints made, regardless of their outcome, should be sent to the council.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Amendment No. 18 is concerned with the power of a registration board to make or forward complaints to the council and, under section 52(3), a complaint to the council may be made on behalf of any person or by a registration board. On that basis, the issue raised in the Deputy’s amendment is already provided for under the Bill.

Amendment No. 19 concerns the accreditation and inspection of training course providers and the monitoring of trends and performances in health services. The education and training courses, rather than the providers of courses, should be accredited. Under section 48, a registration board may approve a training programme if it is satisfied that it is suitable for the education and training of candidates for registration or may refuse to approve the programme if it is not so satisfied. A registration board may issue guidelines concerning the requirements for its approval of education and training programmes. Section 49(1)(a) requires the registration board to satisfy itself as to the suitability of the education training, assessment and examination provided by any education and training programme approved by the board. Section 49(1)(b) requires the registration board to satisfy itself as to the clinical experience provided in any education and training programme approved by the board. Therefore, while the courses providers are not accredited, their courses are.

With regard to research, under section 27(4), registration boards may, with the council’s approval, engage in research into education and training relating to the practice of a designated profession, including the formulation of experimental curricula and the evaluation of existing programmes and examination and assessment [1647]procedures. The registration board may also maintain statistical records and make those records available for research and planning.

The carrying out of research to monitor trends and performance outside the education field seems to be a function more proper to other bodies, such as the Health Service Executive, and it would not be appropriate to charge registration boards with this duty. I do not, therefore, propose to accept these amendments.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  Will all complaints made to registration boards be submitted to the council or will submissions be made only where outcomes are negative? Will the council maintain a record of all complaints made to it or will that be a function of the registration boards?

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  It will be the function of the council and people will be able to complain directly to that body.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Is Deputy Twomey pressing amendment No. 18?

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  No.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy McManus is not here, so amendment No. 19 cannot be moved.

Amendment No. 19 not moved.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I move amendment No. 20:

While supporting the thrust and endeavouring to reflect the position with regard to the Green Party’s amendments on the additional representation of those involved in the education, I am not pressing this amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Amendment No. 21 is out of order. Amendment No. 22 is not being moved.

Amendments Nos. 21 and 22 not moved.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Amendments Nos. 23, 24 and 28 are consequential on amendment No. 27. Amendment No. 29 is related. Amendments Nos. 23, 24 and 27 to 29, inclusive, may be discussed together.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 23:

[1648]

Section 38 provides for the granting of registration to applicants who comply with general requirements and hold qualifications approved by the registration board of a designated profession as attesting to the standard of proficiency required for registration. It also provides for a registration board to take account of qualifications awarded in another European Union state and those awarded in states outside the EU. It was, however, indicated on Committee Stage that improvements to section 38 were being considered.

The concern was that section 38 as it stood encompassed nationals of EU member states who were awarded qualifications in an EU member state but did not specifically encompass EU nationals who gained their qualifications outside the EU. While section 38 also took account of non-EU nationals who gained their qualifications outside the EU, it did not specifically encompass people who were not EU nationals and were awarded qualifications in an EU member state. It was therefore undertaken to bring appropriate amendments on Report Stage.

Amendment No. 27 amends section 38(2) to fully take into account qualifications approved by the registration board, whether such qualifications are awarded in this country, another European country or outside the EU. It also takes into account both EU nationals and non-nationals. In some cases, a qualification held by an applicant may be below the standard required, that is, a lesser qualification. However, the applicant may have undergone additional training or acquired experience which satisfies the registration board, following a test of competence, that he or she has a requisite standard of proficiency for registration.

Amendment No. 28 is a technical amendment to define what is meant by “lesser qualification”. Amendment No. 29 is a technical amendment to delete a previous definition which is no longer required in the context of the substantive amendment to section 38(2). Amendments Nos. 23 and 24 are technical amendments required as a result of changing section 38.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I welcome the Minister of State’s amendments and will not be opposing them.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 24:

[1649]Amendment agreed to.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 25:

Amendment agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Amendment No. 26 cannot be moved.

Amendment No. 26 not moved.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 27:

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 28:

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 29:

Amendment agreed to.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  I move amendment No. 30:

I need a moment to refresh my memory on this amendment.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Minister of State had a good run there. He must owe us at least one amendment. I have none left, I am making an appeal on behalf of Deputy Twomey. In fact, I am trying to buy him some time.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Do the rules of the House allow for a commercial break?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Not if the Minister’s photograph appears in the commercial.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  I may have to withdraw amendment No. 30 because I cannot remember its purpose. Perhaps if the Minister of State has a response prepared, that will refresh my memory.

[1651]Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Section 39(2)(c) provides that a registration board shall restore a person’s name to its register if the person meets the criteria established, by law, for restoration to the register. The amendment proposed by the Deputy is covered by the by-laws of registration boards. Therefore, I do not propose to accept the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments Nos. 31 to 33, inclusive, not moved.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  I move amendment No. 34:

This amendment is designed to give the council power to initiate investigations on complaints or matters of public interest. I am not sure if this issue is covered elsewhere in the legislation.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Given the potential implications for a practitioner’s livelihood, all decisions of the council in the disciplinary area are subject either to appeal or to confirmation by the High Court. It is clearly essential, in that regard, that the council behaves strictly in accordance with the principles of due process at all times. The fitness to practice procedures contained in the Bill are designed to differentiate clearly between the distinct and separate roles of the various constituent elements of the disciplinary process.

The role of the council is broadly twofold in this matter. The council initiates the investigations of a complaint and, following the substantiation of a complaint against a registrant, it dictates an appropriate sanction based on the recommendation of the registration board.

Conferring a broad power on the council itself to initiate a complaint, as proposed by Deputy Twomey, would circumvent the detailed fitness to practice system set out in the Bill and run the risk of rendering the disciplinary committees superfluous or, at least, confer a lower order of importance on them. It might also undermine the objective of the Bill to develop a more modern approach to the investigation of fitness to practice complaints through the introduction of a mediation route and allowing a practitioner to accept a complaint in order to preclude a full hearing in less serious cases. Moreover, there could be concern among practitioners regarding [1652]the scope for potential abuse of the complaints system in circumstances where an investigation could be commenced in the absence of a complaint being made.

I appreciate the Deputy wishes to allow scope for the regulatory system itself to initiate a complaint against a registered practitioner. This area is covered in subsection (3) of section 52 of the Bill, which allows the registration board to make a complaint to the council. Therefore, the proposed amendment is not accepted.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  I move amendment No. 35:

While this is standard procedure, I would like to see this provision made explicit in the legislation. If a complaint is made about a person who is a member of one of the registration boards or the council, that person should withdraw from any discussions or investigations into his or her case.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I support Deputy Twomey on this issue. I do not have a further amendment but presume it is taken as understood that in the event of a registrant, who is also a member of the council, having to absent himself or herself, that the exception regarding attendance at any meetings or discussions would be in the case of him or her being called before his or her peers. I presume that exception is understood and, given that, the proposition in amendment No. 35 is worthy of reflection in the Bill.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  On Committee Stage, in response to an amendment tabled by Deputy Twomey, a commitment was made to consult the Parliamentary Counsel with regard to the drafting of an amendment, to be tabled on Report Stage, to the effect that a registrant who is a member of the council and becomes the subject of an inquiry should absent himself or herself from council discussions on the matter.

However, I am not in a position to table this amendment because the advice I have received is that this issue is covered by the principles of natural justice and that the rules of natural justice are expected to be observed by the disciplinary body. These are the rules and procedures to be followed by any person or body with the duty of adjudicating on disputes between parties or when considering the rights of others. One of the main rules is that a person must not be a judge in his or her own cause.

[1653]The advice of the Parliamentary Counsel is that including the amendment could have the effect of disturbing the ordinary rules of natural justice that apply as a matter of course. The amendment could have the effect of freezing or limiting the other rules. Clearly, this is not what we wish to do. It also raises other issues, for example, specifying that a council member should absent himself or herself when the subjects of a complaints inquiry merely begs the question as to why we are not specifying that members should absent themselves when a relative or close friend is the subject of an inquiry. Clearly, absenting oneself in those circumstances would be a normal part of proper procedures. Section 59(4) refers to the necessity of observing fair procedures when receiving evidence so the issue raised by the Deputy is dealt with in the Bill. I hope the Deputy will appreciate my position on this matter and the fact that I cannot accept this amendment.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  The Minister of State is saying that if a complaint was made about a member of the council and that person pressed the issue, he or she could remain at council meetings while the particular case was being discussed and could contribute to the discussion.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  No, I am not saying that at all.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  If the issue was pressed, could the member remain in attendance? The Minister of State is saying the person may withdraw from the meeting of his or her own volition. However, if the person pressed the issue, could he or she stay while his or her case was being discussed?

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  It is normal in a situation where a person is directly involved in a case that he or she does not participate. It is accepted by all groups and organisations that a person cannot be a judge in his or her own cause. As a rule, people absent themselves and do not get involved in discussions which relate to them directly. If a case arose where a member of the council was the subject of a complaint, the other members of the council would object to him or her remaining on and participating in the ensuing debate.

Dr. Twomey: Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  I am seeking clarification regarding a situation where a complaint is made about a member of the council and that member decides that he or she wants to attend the meeting at which the complaint is discussed. If the member insists on being part of the meeting, how will he or she be removed? The Minister of State appears to indicate that if one wished to press the matter, they could remain at the meeting. I would like to have the matter clarified.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Committees will observe fair procedures but the question is how specific does one want to be. Committees and organisations try to be as fair as possible. For instance, if I were on a committee and someone made a complaint against [1654]my brother, it would not be fair for me to sit in at the meeting and participate. If one wants to be specific, how far down the road does one want to go? When the matter was last debated, there was genuine support for what was being proposed. However, having given the matter serious consideration, we believe it would not be appropriate.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 36 not moved.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 37:

Amendment agreed to.

Bill recommitted in respect of amendment No. 38.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 38:

This amendment proposes to include a qualification which was omitted inadvertently.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment reported.

Amendment No. 39 not moved.

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  I move amendment No. 40:

Amendment agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments, received for final consideration and passed.


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