Summary

The Regulated Professionals (Health and Social Care) (Amendment) Bill 2019 (the Bill) is due for consideration by the Dáil Select Committee on Health on Wednesday 25 September 2019.

The Bill was first published in February 2019.

The Bill seeks to make changes to the legislative framework of a number of statutory regulators in Ireland, including the Medical Council, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, the Dental Council and CORU (the regulator for health and social care professionals) (the relevant regulators).

Aims of the Bill

The Bill was introduced by the Minister for Health to clarify and address certain issues that have arisen in respect of the operation of the statutory frameworks of the relevant regulators and to improve procedures and facilitate the relevant regulators in performing their statutory functions.

Amongst the changes proposed in the Bill are a requirement that the imposition of the sanction of censure, advice or admonishment by the board/council of the relevant regulator be confirmed by the High Court and for appeals to the High Court against the imposition of those sanctions. Under existing legislation, no such confirmation is required and no such appeal is allowed.

The Bill also provides a statutory basis for

  • the admissibility of documents from other proceedings into fitness-to-practise proceedings and,
  • the CEO of the relevant regulator to obtain information in respect of a registrant's criminal record, including certificates of conviction, from An Garda Síochána and/or a registrar of a court.

The Bill also proposes to streamline the manner in which committees within the relevant regulators can accept undertakings from registrants not to repeat the conduct the subject of the complaint.

Commentary

The Bill is a welcome development in that it should help streamline the statutory framework of each of the relevant regulators and it addresses obstacles faced by the relevant regulators under the existing legislative framework.

It is likely that further amendments will be introduced at Committee stage and in the event that the Bill reaches Seanad Eireann.