End of Year Message from the CEO - 2022
2022 Year in Review
After over two long and challenging pandemic years, 2022 has been a return to normality in all walks of life. While the lifting of restrictions was a welcome relief, it has brought new challenges and pressure to our health and social care professionals. As always, they responded and have shown tremendous dedication to providing excellent care, and I thank them all on behalf of CORU for that commitment.
At CORU, we have been delighted to connect in person again with each other and with our wide network of stakeholders. These connections have been invaluable as this year saw us deliver in many positive ways, as we continue our work of promoting high standards of professional conduct, education, training and competence across each of the professions we regulate.
CORU exists to protect the public, and I am immensely proud of the many ways we have done so over the past 12 months.
Milestones in regulation
This year has seen the number of CORU registered professionals reach almost 25,000. Each of these professionals is committed to delivering the highest standards of care for their patients and service users. We are proud to have reached this level and expect that number to continue to rise over 2023.
We have progressed our work to introduce regulation for all those professions designated by the Minister for Health. We have confirmed that the Social Care Workers register will open on 30 November 2023, a major milestone for a complex profession. At the same time, much work has continued towards opening registers for the psychology, psychotherapy and counselling professions.
For Ireland’s podiatrists and their patients, 31 March 2023 will be a red letter day. The end of the grandparenting period for podiatrists will see it become a legally protected title. We already have over 130 podiatrists registered and expect that to grow as that day approaches.
Protecting the public
At CORU there is nothing more important to us than our duty to protect the public. I am pleased that, once again, we have fulfilled this duty and those people who required the treatment of a health or social care professional benefitted as a result.
Throughout 2022 we continued to administer fitness to practice hearings. Our work resulted in definitive action being taken against a small number of individuals when poor standards of care were identified.
CPD is essential in modern health and social care. All CORU registrants must ensure they are equipped to provide care that matches current best practice. To support this, CORU completed CPD audits for four professions over the past twelve months.
For the public to be protected, they must know where to turn when things go wrong, as they sometimes will. Raising awareness of our role is a key priority, as is helping our wide network of stakeholders understand our role.
To build upon previous progress, we undertook our largest ever public information campaign this spring. This four-week campaign included advertising on national and local radio, outdoor advertising and on Ireland’s top news websites. In total, this campaign was viewed more than 40 million times and we will continue this work into 2023.
Regulating for the future
The critical development of 2022 has been the adoption of a new five-year statement of strategy, which was launched in May. With health and social care needs rapidly evolving, we must remain agile to continue that all-important focus on protecting the public. We also have a responsibility to registrants to ensure we are not burdening them but pursuing right touch regulation. This strategy provides us with the blueprint to deliver the work required of us, in this context, over the years ahead.
The strategy recognises that the current model of regulation CORU needs to be simplified and that a new governance structure is required to allow for sustainable regulation. Delivering this, in partnership with the Department of Health, while always protecting the public, is the most significant challenge and opportunity before us.
I am always indebted to the many people and organisations contributing to CORU’s success. We cannot succeed without the support of many dedicated groups who all assist us in protecting the public. I particularly want to thank the executive who have been incredibly flexible in delivering our work and our partners in this work, the unions, the professional bodies, the educators, the employers and the service users, as well are our links with our national and international fellow regulators. I extend warm thanks to every single partner for that unwavering support which we can rely upon.
With great fondness, I remember our dear colleague and friend Majella Walsh, who sadly passed away this autumn. Majella had worked with us for over a decade, most recently leading our Compliance and Governance Unit. We will remember her for her intelligence, integrity, meticulousness and dedication to CORU. Above all else, she will be remembered for her warm sense of humour, which is and will always be missed by everyone in CORU.
Our success this and every year is spearheaded by the members of our Council, Registration Boards and our Committees. They each volunteer their time and do so to advance our work in protecting the public. On behalf of all the people protected by this service, I thank them.
Education providers, employers and patient advocacy groups as well as professional bodies and unions are a constant support to our work.
The team in the Department of Health, particularly those within the Professional Regulatory Unit led by Alessandra Fantini and the Assistant Secretary for Regulation/Chief Nursing Officer Rachel Kenna, are constant supporters of CORU and deserve our thanks and appreciation. Through 2022 Stephen Donnelly TD has been big support during his tenure as Minister for Health and we look forward to continuing this relationship with the new Minister for Health in 2023.
Our Chairperson Ms. Mo Flynn is tireless in her dedication to the role and a guiding light to the entire executive team. We simply would not be as effective without her and once again I extend her my warm appreciation.
Finally, I must thank the CORU team. It has been wonderful to reconnect in person once again and I enjoy seeing the enthusiasm and dedication that is shared among an incredible team. I look forward to supporting them once again in 2023.
Season greetings to you, your family and friends; enjoy a happy Christmas and prosperous and healthy new year.
Chief Executive Officer
Health and Social Care Professionals Council