Persistance pays off – news from Ireland

Persistance pays off – news from Ireland

In Ireland we have been battling for State Registration to protect our professional title since the 1984. I am happy to say that this will occur shortly, only 40+ years later!!

The title ‘Physiotherapist’ is known by the title ‘Physical Therapist’ in the many parts of the world. In fact while I worked in Canada, I was a ‘Physical Therapist’.

When I came back to Ireland, I found out that a group had set up a non- University and non- hospital based course, and on finishing the course, their students were called ‘Physical Therapists’. They worked mainly in the musculoskeletal area, setting up and working in private clinics. As there was no legislation protecting the titles ‘Physiotherapist ‘or ‘Physical Therapist’, it was not against the law.

This affected our private practitioners particularly, as there were now more competitors in the market place.

This caused a lot of consternation to members of the ISCP, as well as confusion for the public. Our organisation encouraged us to use the title ‘Chartered Physiotherapist’, to indicate the difference between the two titles. The focus of our campaign then changed to protect both titles ‘Physiotherapist’ and ‘Physical Therapist’ under law, so only suitably qualified people could work under these titles. Our private practice organisation (CPPP) supported the campaigns wholeheartedly, by raising the public’s awareness of our profession whenever possible.

In 2005 the ‘Health and Social Care Professionals Act’ was enacted and this meant that State Registration for many of the Professions Allied to Medicine would occur.

The problem for us was that there were now two disciplines with similar names, and how would the Minister handle that?

The ISCP ran many campaigns to draw the politician’s attention to this, and tried to make it clear to the public. I would like to thank many of you who signed our recent petition, which was sent to the Minister for Health.

The good news is that this week the Minister has decided to protect both titles ‘Physical Therapist’ and ‘Physiotherapist’ in the one register, thus ensuring the protection of the public in the future. There will be a process involved to achieve registration of all involved, but for now the outcome is happily received.

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