Statutory Registration in Ireland
  • Country – Ireland


    The Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute (INDI) is the professional organisation for dietitians /clinical nutritionists in Ireland. Founded in 1968, the Institute has grown steadily and it now represents dietitians/clinical nutritionists throughout Ireland as well as having members world-wide. A Dietitians’ Registration Board has recently been established as one of the twelve professions governed by the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (the Act). This will be the first time that health and social care professions in Ireland will be regulated under statute. This is a very welcome and significant step in our drive to ensuring patient safety and delivery of evidence-based, high quality patient care.
     
    The purpose of statutory registration and the prime objective of the Health and Social Care Professionals Council (HSCPC) are to protect the public by promoting high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence among registrants of the designated professions. It is a legally binding process to protect the public and also protect the profession. It will also serve as a mechanism to deal with complaints.  The Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 brings regulation of twelve health and social care professions in line with doctors, dentists and nurses in Ireland.
     
    CORU, Ireland’s first multi-profession regulator, is made up of the Health and Social Care Professions Council and the twelve Registration Boards which will be established. Statutory Committees will incorporate Preliminary Proceedings, Health & Professional Conduct. CORU was established under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005. Council is made up of 25 voluntary members appointed by the Minister of Health. With a lay majority, over half of the Council members do not come from the regulated professions. The Council’s mission is to protect the public. It sets standards of performance and education standards of proficiency for registrants. The Council is also responsible for developing mechanisms concerning complaints and will, ultimately, be responsible for conducting inquiries. A Registration Board will be established for each of the regulated professions which include Clinical Biochemists, Dietitians, Medical Scientists, Occupational Therapists, Orthoptists, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Psychologists, Radiographers, Social Care Workers, Social Workers and Speech & Language Therapists. Each Board will be responsible for the approval and monitoring of training courses for the profession and for establishing the code of professional conduct and ethics and standards of performance to which registrants must adhere. A register of members will be established and maintained. Certificates of registration will be issued. Applicants must hold approved qualifications, health & character references along with fees. Members can be removed and restored to the register accordingly. The council oversees and co-ordinates the activities of the Registration Boards, ensuring that there will be consistency in the regulation of the twelve professions. CORU will also ensure that the relevant educational bodies deliver qualifications that prepare professionals to provide safe and appropriate care and that registered professionals keep their skills up to date.
     
    Grandparenting is the name given to the two year transition period following the opening of the Register to allow existing practitioners to register. This will allow those currently practicing as dietitians/ clinical nutritionists to establish all particulars required to be deemed state registered to avoid any disruption in their practice.
     
    CPD, Continuous Professional Development, is a key component of statutory registration. Formal CPD activities are currently being endorsed, a feature of the INDI CPD system. This is designed to provide quality assurance that the learning activity has been reviewed by the INDI CPD Endorsement Committee and deemed to be evidence based and appropriate for an INDI approved CPD activity. There is a minimum CPD hours of 60 annual with respect to Statutory Registration. Endorsement of CPD activities offers an opportunity for providers of formal CPD activities e.g. SIGs (Special Interest Groups), INDI corporate sponsors, INDI corporate information contacts and professional organisations to apply for approval in the form of INDI endorsement. Examples of activities that are eligible for INDI CPD endorsement include study days & courses organised by INDI SIG’s and clinical meetings sponsored by INDI Corporate partners and/or corporate information contacts. The Committee also acknowledges engagement in formal CPD activities that are very specific to an area or practice or developed and provided outside Ireland.
     
    This is a very exciting yet challenging time for dietetics in Ireland. The INDI welcomes Statutory Registration and embraces formalising continuing professional development to protect both the public and the profession.
     
    Deirdre Mc Cormack
    Senior Clinical Nutritionist, Ireland