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People who falsely call themselves "dietitian" or "speech and language therapist" can now be jailed

The titles are now legally protected in Ireland.

Image: Shutterstock/Stasique

IF YOU NEED to find a dietitian or speech and language therapist in Ireland, you’ll now be able to make sure that you’re getting someone who’s legitimate.

That’s because from this week the titles ‘dietitian’ and ‘speech and language therapist’ are both legally protected in Ireland.

This means that only people who have applied or registered with Coru - which is Ireland’s multi-profession health regulator – are entitled to practise using these titles.

The protection of these titles is provided for in the Health and Social Care Act 2005. Coru is able to prosecute anyone who continues to misuse a protected title.

If someone does misuse a protected title, It is a criminal offence and on conviction they may be liable to a Class A fine and/or six months imprisonment.

Coru explained that registers for both professions opened in 2014 and were subject to a two-year transition period.

This period has now expired meaning that both professions are now subject to statutory regulation for the first time. To date over 800 dietitians and 1,600 speech and language therapists have applied for registration with CORU.

The new regulations apply to anyone practising in Ireland with the title ‘dietitian’ or ‘speech and language therapist’.

They also come with a number of requirements, including:

  • Completing formal registration with Coru
  • Meeting the required education standards
  • Satisfying the registration board that they are a ‘fit and proper’ person to engage in the practise including undergoing the garda vetting process
  • Complying with a code of professional conduct and ethics
  • Engaging in continuous professional development

Ginny Hanrahan, CEO of CORU, described this as “a positive development for both the dietitian and the speech and language therapy professions”.

“Restricting the use of these titles enables CORU to protect the public by promoting high standards of professional conduct, education, training and competence,” she said.

She also said that the protection of these titles “also sends a powerful message to patients and service users, about the quality and consistency of care they can expect”.

Members of the public can now ensure that their dietitian or speech and language therapist meets these high standards.

The register for both professions is available on www.coru.ie

Read: Here’s a snapshot of what a dietitian eats in a day>

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