End of Year Message from the CEO
2019 Year in Review
CORU’s role is to protect the public by promoting high standards of professional conduct, education, training and competence among CORU registrants. Now, as this decade draws to close we can look back at many achievements that have contributed to CORU delivering on this mission.
Our first Registration Board was appointed in 2010, our first register for social workers was opened in 2011, and since that time, we have been continuously enhancing public protection. By the midpoint of the decade, we had almost 7,000 registrants across seven professions. That number has now reached over 18,000 registrants, an increase of 16% in the last year alone.
2019, as with the entire decade, has seen many important developments for our work. I am pleased to have the opportunity to thank the many people who have contributed to our successes over the past 12 months.
Milestones in regulation
CORU now fully regulates nine professions in Ireland and work continues to establish regulation for a further seven professions, with excellent progress made in 2019.
In March, our 10th statutory register was opened, for Medical Scientists who provide a range of vital services to the health system. The introduction of statutory registration will ensure that all Medical Scientists consistently deliver the highest standards of patient care, at the time of writing over 250 applications have already been received.
Another major development was the appointment, by Minister Simon Harris, of the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Registration Board. Their first meeting took place in May this year and they have commenced the complex processes required to establish statutory regulation of these professions for the first time in Ireland.
Meanwhile much progress has been made by several other Registration Boards including the Psychologists, Social Care Workers and Podiatrists Registration Boards who all continue their work towards opening their respective registers.
Protecting the public
One of the most important ways CORU protects the public is setting the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics that members of each profession must follow. In February this year, the code for each profession was updated.
One of the changes that was most noticeable was the introduction of the requirement for registrants to always use their CORU registration number when presenting as a registered professional including when writing notes as a registered profession. This will greatly improve the visibility of CORU for patients and service users and help all stakeholders ensure that only those entitled to practise using a protected title are doing so. The new codes also introduced a new requirement to ensure registrants use social media responsibly and in accordance with the provisions of their Code. It also addresses new requirements in relation to assisted decision making changes that are coming into the health and social care systems.
Brexit is a matter that is on the forefront of many minds across Europe. The situation remains unclear but we, along with our fellow regulators, including our UK colleagues, have been preparing for all eventualities. Arrangements will be in place to facilitate professional mobility and most importantly to ensure full cooperation with our neighbours in the UK to maintain public safety.
We have a wide range of stakeholders which includes service users, the public, current and future registrants, education providers and professionals. Engaging with these groups, building positive relationships and ensuring they understand our role is a consistent priority for CORU.
A highlight of the year, which has helped us to communicate with all our stakeholders collectively, has been the launch of our new website in June. This new site provides excellent information for both members of the public and for those in the health and social care professions.
To support the goal of raising public awareness of CORU we continue to invest in public information campaigns. This has included placing an information leaflet in over 2,000 GP surgeries nationwide.
Members of the CORU team are regularly attending and addressing conferences, meeting professional bodies. We do this with the goal of helping our key partners understand the role we play in protecting the public.
In February, we co-hosted the Health Professionals Crossing Borders event in Dublin Castle. The event was attended by fellow health and social care regulators across Europe. The very successful event was addressed by Mairéad McGuinness MEP who gave a very uplifting address despite the cloud of Brexit looming.
In June, we held a briefing in our office for professional bodies of the professions we regulate. This meeting allowed us to provide these important groups with updates on Continuing Professional Development and several other developments. A meeting with the Unions who represent health and social care professionals also took place in December 2019.
2020 - Deliver Sustainable Regulation
All of these developments will strengthen our ability to deliver on our mission of protecting the public.
This past year I have once again been extremely proud of the work of CORU and confident that we are making an important difference in Irish health and social care. This is achieved thanks to a great number of people who believe in our mission and through the expertise and enthusiasm help us to succeed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our many partners for their continued support.
This includes our registrants, our members of Council and Registration Boards, members of our committees, the educators, employers and patient advocate groups as well as professional bodies and unions.
I also want to acknowledge the work that the Professional Regulatory Unit in the Department of Health, who have worked in partnership with CORU to progress the regulation of our professions. I want to thank Siobhan Kennan, Aidan Tumbleton and the rest of the team at the PRU.
While I have been delighted to welcome many new colleagues, we have also said a fond farewell to others. I was delighted during the year that our Chairperson Dr Bernard McCartan was reappointed by Minister Harris to serve a second term in the role. His leadership and wisdom through a time of great progress for CORU is of tremendous value and he deserves special thanks for all his efforts. (Updated December 2020: Dr. Bernard McCartan served as Chairperson from 2016 until 2020)
Finally, I must thank our team, CORU is fortunate to have an excellent and dedicated team of professionals working diligently each day. I am constantly inspired by their commitment to our work and it is our greatest asset.
Season greetings to you, your family and friends; Enjoy a Happy Christmas and New Year and I look forward to meeting the challenges of the year 2020 with your ongoing support.
CEO, Health and Social Care Professionals Council