CORU Secures First Conviction for Improper Use of a Protected Title
Landmark Case an Important Judgement in Protecting the Public
22 July, 2020 Two Cork women, Lisa O’Driscoll and Emma Power, have been convicted in Cork District Court today for the improper use of a protected title, the first such conviction in Ireland. The prosecution followed complaints made to CORU, Ireland’s multi-professional healthcare regulator.
An investigation by CORU found that the defendants had been working using the titles ‘occupational therapist’ and ‘speech and language therapist’ respectively. Holders must be registered with CORU in order to practice using these titles and neither had completed the statutory registration process.
Lisa O’Driscoll and Emma Power, who are directors of the Bright SPOTs clinic, which has its business at Unit 7a, South Ring Business Park, Cork, were found guilty by Judge O’Leary in Cork District Court today. The fine on Lisa O’Driscoll was €100 on the first charge and the other five charges were taken into consideration. The fine on Emma Power was also €100 on the first charge and the other five charges were taken into consideration. The Judge ordered that both Ms. O’Driscoll and Ms.Power pay €250 costs each over four months to be awarded to CORU. Judge O’Leary took into consideration on conviction that both defendants were already paying €1,230 per month for High Court costs.
Speaking following the conviction Ginny Hanrahan, Chief Executive of CORU said “We welcome the verdict issued today by Cork District Court. This investigation and prosecution was a necessary and important action to protect the public. Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists treat some of the most vulnerable members of our society, often including young people with developmental and special needs. It is essential that they are protected and we will always take prompt action against any individual identified as misusing a protected title.”
In January this year, CORU took separate civil proceedings seeking an injunction preventing Lisa O’Driscoll and Emma Power from practising. The High Court ordered the two women to cease providing therapy services until they were fully registered with CORU.
Ms Hanrahan reminded people of the importance of checking the CORU register before using the services of a designated Health and Social Care Professional.
“CORU registered professionals have demonstrated that they meet the educational standards set by the registration board, that they are fit and proper to practise, are garda vetted and that they agree to abide by a code of professional conduct and ethics. If there is a failing, CORU can investigate and hold a fitness to practise hearing if required. We cannot take action if there is a failing and you are using the services of a non-registered professional - so I encourage people to check the register at www.coru.ie”.
“There are currently over 19,000 health and social care professionals registered with CORU, and their CORU registered status is a powerful statement of their commitment to provide the highest standards of care”, she added.