Professional Competence for Healthcare Professionals

It is universally acknowledged that many professionals maintain up to date information and knowledge of their chosen profession through a system of continuous lifelong learning and sharing of information and experience with their peer groups. Irish healthcare employees are being provided with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide the safest care. There are systems in place to ensure that staff receive continuous education where required, particularly in relation to safety and quality. Healthcare professionalswill be required to demonstrate that they are appropriately qualified and skilled and that their performance is maintained at an acceptable level.
The Medical Council’s Professional Competence Committee was established at the beginning of 2011 to oversee the introduction of Professional Competence Schemes. As of May 2011, in line with Part 11 of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 (No. 25 of 2007) doctors are legally obliged to maintain their professional competence by enrolling in professional schemes and following requirements set by the Medical Council.
From 2012 doctors will be required to declare to the Medical Council that they are fulfilling their legal obligations and patients will have the right to check with their doctor that they are complying with professional competence schemes.
For further information on professional competence please visit
A new statutory framework for the maintenance of professional competence of registered nurses and midwives including an obligation on employers to facilitate the maintenance of professional competence of nurses and midwives, in particular by providing learning opportunities in the workplace is provided for in the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 (No. 41 of 2011), Part 11 - Maintenance of Professional Competence. (It should be noted that Part 11 of the Act has not yet been commenced.
Further information on the Act is available at
The Health and Social Care Professionals Council (HSCPC) was established in March 2007 under the Health and Social Care Professional Act 2005. The Act provides for the establishment of a system of statutory registration for the twelve health and social care professions designated under the Act that will apply to them regardless of whether the professionals work in the public or private sector or are self-employed. It is the first time that fitness to practice procedures will be put in place for these professions on a statutory basis.
The twelve professions to be regulated under the Act are clinical biochemists, dieticians, medical scientists, occupational therapists, orthoptists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, psychologists, radiographers, social care workers, social workers, and speech and language therapists.
The structure of the system of statutory registration will comprise a registration board for each designated profession, a Health and Social Care Professionals Council with overall responsibility for the regulatory system, and a committee structure to deal with disciplinary matters. To date, two registration boards have been established: the Social Workers Registration Board and Radiographers Registration Board. Section 27 (1) of the Act provides that the object of the registration board of a designated profession is to protect the public by fostering high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence among registrants of that profession.
CORU is the name being used for the umbrella body responsible for regulating health and social care professionals - it includes the Health and Social Care Professionals Council and the 12 Registration Boards to be established under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005.
For further information please visit


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