End of Year Message from the CEO - 2021
2021 Year in Review
The past 12 months have remained extremely challenging for everyone. But all those involved in the provision of health and social care in Ireland and around the world have been disproportionately impacted.
When the history of the pandemic in Ireland is written there will be no shortage of heroes, those who braved the front lines in many guises to care for their community. Many of those exceptionally dedicated people are CORU registrants I wish to thank and commend all of our registrants for their selfless commitment throughout 2021.
At CORU we too have played our role by adapting to the changing situations ensuring we continued to fulfil our role of protecting the public. This work ensures we can promote high standards of professional conduct, education, training and competence across each of the health and social care professions we regulate.
The year began in the midst of a severe wave of COVID, but also with growing optimism about the positive potential of vaccines. The National COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign, which many CORU registrants supported, has made a huge impact on reducing the harmful potential of this terrible virus. While today, concerns raise about the threat of the Omicron variant I believe the success of vaccinations to date should give us renewed reasons for optimism.
During 2021 the number of professionals we regulate has continued to expand significantly. There are now just under 23,000 health and social care professionals who commit to the standards CORU espouse. This represents a 15% increase in just one year and copper-fastens our role as one of the largest professional regulators in the country.
This year saw CORU open its 12th register, the Podiatrists Register, while the title of Medical Scientist became legally protected in March, as the transition/grand parenting period closed for this profession. Meanwhile, significant progress has been made to introducing statutory regulation for those professions which have been designated for future regulation by the Minister for Health.
Protecting the public
CORU exists to protect the public and there is no function more fundamental to us than fulfilling this duty.
Throughout 2021 we have continued the process of holding virtual fitness to practise hearings. This demonstrates our ongoing commitment to ensuring high standards of professional conduct and competence and to taking appropriate action where a lapse is identified.
All CORU registrants commit to undertaking appropriate Continued Professional Development (CPD). CPD is essential in modern health and social care to ensure continued adherence to best practise. To support this CORU completed CPD audits for five professions in 2021.
Raising awareness about CORU’s role is a key priority. We have many stakeholders from registrants to students, educators and the wider health profession, but above all else our registrants’ service users. It is imperative each group understand the mission of CORU and how we protect the public.
To support this CORU undertook its largest ever public information campaign this autumn. A new radio advertising campaign was coordinated with a nationwide outdoor advertising initiative. This has received widespread recognition and this work will be continued and expanded in 2022.
Throughout the pandemic, our communications and education teams have undertaken extensive work with registrants, students, and educators to ensure they understood their obligations.
2022 – Entering a new phase
A new Statement of Strategy has now been developed by CORU. Implementation will begin in January and guide our work over the next five years.
We have seen a huge growth in CORU over the past few years. This is expected to continue as we introduce regulation for the additional six professions designated for regulation. This strategy will guide how we achieve this whilst ensuring we constantly strive to do so in the most sustainable and efficient way.
I am extremely proud of the work of CORU over this past year and grateful to the many people who support it and make it possible. CORU relies upon the support of many dedicated groups each of which play an invaluable role in ensuring we protect the public. I thank each and every one of our many partners for your contribution through what has once again been an extremely challenging year.
Members of our Council, Registration Boards and our Committees each provide their time on a voluntary basis. This is a tremendous public service and we are extremely grateful for this.
Our work with education providers, employers and patient advocacy groups as well as professional bodies and unions enhances our work and continues to support our regulation.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD, his colleagues in the Department of Health, in particular, those within the Professional Regulatory Unit are extremely active supporters of CORU and deserve our thanks and appreciation.
I am indebted to our Chairperson Ms. Mo Flynn who assumed this role in December 2020 and has worked tirelessly throughout the year. Her energy and impetus drives CORU forward and she has been a huge personal support to me.
Finally, I must thank the CORU team. Once again, the year has been hugely challenging on both a personal and professional level for and each one of them. Despite these difficulties, their commitment is steadfast and the public is protected as a result. I look forward to supporting them once again in 2022.
Season greetings to you, your family and friends; enjoy a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.
Chief Executive Officer
Health and Social Care Professionals Council