Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005

Designated professions.

4.—(1) For the purposes of this Act, the following health or social care professions are designated:

(a) clinical biochemist;

(b) dietitian;

(c) medical scientist;

(d) occupational therapist;

(e) orthoptist;

(f) physiotherapist;

(g) podiatrist;

(h) psychologist;

(i) radiographer;

(j) social care worker;

(k) social worker;

(l) speech and language therapist.

(2) After consulting the Council, the Minister may, by regulation, designate for the purposes of this Act any health or social care profession not already designated under subsection (1), but only if—

(a) the fitness of the members to practise their profession is not regulated by or under another Act of the Oireachtas,

(b) the Minister has given interested persons, organisations and other bodies an opportunity to make representations to him or her concerning the proposed designation,

(c) the Minister considers that it is appropriate and in the public interest that the profession be designated under this Act, and

(d) the steps in subsection (8) have been taken.

(3) A health or social care profession is any profession in which a person exercises skill or judgment relating to any of the following health or social care activities:

(a) the preservation or improvement of the health or wellbeing of others;

(b) the diagnosis, treatment or care of those who are injured, sick, disabled or infirm;

(c) the resolution, through guidance, counselling or otherwise, of personal, social or psychological problems;

(d) the care of those in need of protection, guidance or support.

(4) In considering for the purposes of subsection (2)(c) whether it is appropriate and in the public interest that a health or social care profession be designated under this Act, the Minister shall have regard to the following factors:

(a) the extent to which the profession has a defined scope of practice and applies a distinct body of knowledge;

(b) the extent to which the profession has established itself, including whether there is at least one professional body representing a significant proportion of the profession's practitioners;

(c) the existence of defined routes of entry into the profession and of independently assessed entry qualifications;

(d) the profession's commitment to continuing professional development;

(e) the degree of risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public from incompetent, unethical or impaired practice of the profession;

(f) any other factor that the Minister considers relevant.

(5) Regulations under this section shall—

(a) include provision for the establishment of registration boards for the professions designated in the regulations, and

(b) specify the name by which each registration board is to be known.

(6) Regulations under this section may prescribe a title to be used by registrants of each profession designated by the regulations and, for that purpose, may also prescribe one or more than one variant of the prescribed title.

(7) Regulations under this section may also vary, as the Minister considers necessary or expedient in view of the increase in the number of designated professions—

(a) the total number of persons to be appointed as ordinary members of the Council under section 9 (3)(b), and

(b) the number of them to be appointed to represent the management of a sector, organisation or body, or to represent an establishment or interest, referred to in any subparagraph of that section.

(8) Regulations may be made under this section only if—

(a) a draft of the proposed regulation has been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas, and

(b) a resolution approving the draft has been passed by each House.