Dietician and Speech Therapist now protected titles

By June Shannon Policy News   |   20th Jun 2018

New rules mean only qualified and registered professionals can use the titles Dietician and Speech Therapist.

Earlier this week the Minister for Health, Simon Harris signed two new sets of regulations aimed at protecting the public who use the services of Dietitians and Speech and Language Therapists.

The regulations mean that from now on two alternatives of the titles (Dietician, spelt with a ‘c’ (a variant of Dietitian) and the title of Speech Therapist (a variant of Speech and Language Therapist) can only be used by qualified professionals registered with CORU, the regulator for a number of healthcare professionals. The new regulations come into effect on Monday (18 June).

Minister Harris said, “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.

“The new regulations, which come into effect today, 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.

“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 the Health and Social Care Professionals Council (CORU) to initiate a criminal prosecution should an unregistered person misuse the newly protected variant titles.”

"As a registered dietitian, I believe that our profession’s role is core to both prevention and treatment of heart disease and stroke,"

Janis Morrissey, Head of Health Promotion , The Irish Heart Foundation

Janis Morrissey, Head of Health Promotion at the Irish Heart Foundation, said that the Foundation welcomed the new regulations as another step in “protecting the public and ensuring that only qualified and registered professionals can now use either spelling of ‘dietitian’/’dietician’ or the titles ‘speech and language therapist’ or ‘speech therapist’.”

“Health and social care professionals including these specialities are a fundamental part of any multi-disciplinary team and it is vital that the public can be confident that the care they receive is delivered by professionals with minimum qualifications and who are also subject to a code of conduct and ethics and fitness to practice provisions.”

Ms Morrissey added that from a cardiovascular disease viewpoint, speech and language therapists played an important part in stroke services as both communication and swallowing problems were common after a stroke.

“As a registered dietitian by background myself, I believe that our profession’s role is core to both prevention and treatment of heart disease and stroke and it explains why the Foundation has employed a full-time dietitian since the mid 1990’s.”

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