RTÉ Investigates broadcast: statutory registration for psychologists

Statutory registration for psychologists, a brass nameplate for a psychologist practise.

Statutory registration for psychologists has not yet been established in Ireland, and the term ‘psychologist’ is currently not a protected title. The current situation is open to exploitative practises, as Monday’s broadcast illustrates.

Fórsa trade union represents health and social care professionals, including psychologists.

The union commends the families who spoke out about the current problems arising from underinvestment in the State’s disability services on Monday’s broadcast of RTÉ Investigates (Monday 6th March).

Despite pressure from Fórsa over more than 12 months, the HSE has yet to produce a workforce plan for Children’s Disability Network Teams (CDNTs). A recent staff census reveals that there is a very significant vacancy rate within the range of necessary professions for CDNTs.

The absence of a HSE/Department of Health plan for how to properly staff these services, and to meet both current and future demand, is driving the high vacancy rate.

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Statutory registration for psychologists will eventually play an invaluable role in protecting vulnerable members of the public from unqualified individuals practising as psychologists.

Fórsa acknowledges the complexity of the process to protect the title of psychologist. The Psychologists Registration Board was established in 2017. The union continues to engage regularly on the issue of statutory registration for psychologists with the State’s health regulator, CORU.

However, based on Fórsa’s most recent engagement with CORU, the union remains extremely concerned that that it may be 2030 before any register opens for psychologists. Even the most optimistic projections suggest the register is still up to five years away.

Fórsa believes that the Minister for Health must, as a matter of urgency, establish a high-level forum to progress regulation in a shorter timeframe.

Fórsa recognises the hard work of its highly dedicated psychology members. They continue to do their best to deliver highly valuable services despite the risk to staff, children and families caused by current staff shortages.