New rules protect public from bogus dietitians

Speech and language therapists also covered
  • Deborah Condon

The Minister for Health has signed new regulations aimed at protecting members of the public who use the services of dietitians and speech and language therapists.

CORU is Ireland's multi-profession health regulator. Its aim is to protect the public by promoting high standards of professional conduct, education, training and competence through the statutory registration of health and social care professionals.

Dietitians and speech and language therapists are already covered by CORU. However, Minister Simon Harris has now signed two new sets of regulations, which focus on variants of these professional titles.

"Currently in Ireland, the titles of dietitian and speech and language therapist are protected under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005, meaning that they can only be used by qualified professionals, registered with the proper registration boards.

"These new regulations give further protection to the public. They ensure that from now on the title of dietician, spelt with the letter ‘c' (a variant title of dietitian) and the title of speech therapist (a variant title of speech and language therapist) can also only be used by qualified professionals," the Minister explained.

Prior to this, there was nothing to stop, for example, unqualified people from practicing as dietitians, if they referred to themselves as dieticians (with a c).

"This is an important step to protect the public who use these services. Registration boards set minimum qualifications for registrants, who are also subject to a code of conduct and ethics and the fitness to practice provisions of the 2005 Act. These new regulations empower CORU to initiate a criminal prosecution should an unregistered person misuse the newly protected variant titles," Minister Harris said.

These regulations came into effect on June 18.


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