Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014: Report Stage

Amendments Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, are out of order.

Amendments Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, not moved.

Amendments Nos. 4 to 8, inclusive, are related. Amendments Nos. 4, 7 and 8 are consequential on amendment No. 5, while amendment No. 6 is a logical alternative to amendment No. 5. Therefore, amendments Nos. 4 to 8, inclusive, will be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 22, line 18, to delete “A person shall not,” and substitute “Subject to subsection (2), a person shall not,”.

This is a technical Bill, with a total of 44 sections. It passed Committee Stage on 7 October without amendment. It has three main objectives: to provide for the subsuming of the Opticians Board into the Health and Social Care Professionals Council; to make certain amendments to the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 in the interests of efficiency and to ensure consistency with the legislation governing other health regulators; and to correct an identified lacuna in the Health Act 1970 to ensure statutory contributions are also payable by recipients of residential support services who, while maintained, are not directly accommodated by or on behalf of the Health Service Executive.

I thank Deputies for their valuable and thoughtful contributions on Second and Committee Stages. On Committee Stage the Minister for Health, Deputy Leo Varadkar, undertook to examine before Report Stage the provisions in the Bill relating to the sale of spectacles. The amendments tabled by Deputies Billy Kelleher and Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin were withdrawn or not moved on that basis. The concerns raised by the Deputies were, in essence, that dispensing opticians and ophthalmologists might not be permitted under the Bill to continue to be assisted by non-registrants in the selling of spectacles and that the Optical Registration Board might not be able to regulate such sales under its by-laws. The Bill proposes to restate in law the provisions of the Opticians Act 1956, under which current sales practices operate. Nevertheless, the concerns raised were real and having sought legal advice from the Attorney General and to clarify and put the matter beyond doubt, my proposed amendments to the Bill will effectively update the provisions of the 1956 Act.

The purpose of this amendment and amendments Nos. 5, 7 and 8 is to clarify and put beyond doubt that the new Optical Registration Board will have powers to regulate in its by-laws the sale of spectacles by registered ophthalmologists and dispensing opticians, including such sales assisted by non-registrants. The amendments will explicitly allow for the continuation of current sales practices and explicitly permit the new Optical Registration Board to make by-laws for the regulation and control of the sale of spectacles, including sales assisted by non-registrants. The amendments have been prepared in the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel following the concerns raised by Deputies on Second and Committee Stages. They address the intended objectives of the amendments proposed by Deputies Billy Kelleher and Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin on Committee Stage and the amendment tabled by Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin on Report Stage.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 22, between lines 27 and 28, to insert the following:

"(2) A person, other than a registered medical practitioner or a registrant of the designated profession of optometrist or dispensing optician, may assist in a sale or in the conduct of a sale of spectacles where such assistance is provided in relation to the sale by a registered medical practitioner or a registrant of the designated profession of optometrist or dispensing optician of spectacles in accordance with subsection (1).".

As this is a more substantive amendment than amendment No. 4, I will read out my note on it to be on the safe side.

The Minister of State may not speak on the amendment, as it was discussed with amendment No. 4.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 6 not moved.

I move amendment No. 7:

In page 22, line 28, to delete "(2) A" and substitute "(3) A".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 8:

In page 23, line 2, after "optician" to insert ", including sales assisted by persons referred to in section 81B(2)".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 9 to 12, inclusive, in the name of Deputy Ó Caoláin, are out of order.

Amendments Nos. 9 to 12, inclusive, not moved.
Bill, as amended, received for final consideration.