I propose to take Questions Nos. 175 to 177, inclusive, together.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) is responsible for the appointment of its employees including the setting of qualification requirements for particular posts.
I am advised that the use of positron emission tomography — computed tomography (PET/CT) instrumentation/Nuclear Medicine is one of a range of functions performed by the profession of radiography within the HSE. The qualification requirement for radiographer — basic grade- is possession of the Diploma of the College of Radiographers, London or the B.Sc. (Hons) in Radiography from University College Dublin or an equivalent qualification. Qualifications in nuclear medicine or PET/CT would not be recognised for the purpose of recruitment to the HSE as a radiographer because the range of professional practice required of a radiographer within the HSE is much broader than provided through professional training in nuclear medicine or PET/CT alone.
The HSE grade of Clinical Specialist Radiographer in the specialities of CT/MRI/Ultrasound/Nuclear Medicine/PET/CT and Mammography is a career grade within the profession of radiography and qualification prerequisites are the qualification requirements for radiographer — basic grade, post-qualification clinical experience and a post-graduate course in the relevant speciality.
Directive 2005/36/EC provides a mechanism for the recognition of non-Irish professional qualifications and the determination of their equivalence to the prescribed Irish qualification. Under Statutory Instruments Nos. 139 and 166 of 2008, which transpose the Directive into Irish law, the Minister for Health is the Competent Authority for the assessment of Radiography qualifications and is advised by the Irish Institute of Radiography and Radiation Therapy (IIRRT). The National Validation Office, Health Service Executive, Galway administers the process on behalf of the Department of Health.
The Directive applies to all EEA nationals wishing to practise a regulated profession in an EEA State other than that in which they obtained their professional qualifications. The processes of the Directive are also applied in Ireland to persons with certain health profession qualifications which are outside the scope of the Directive i.e. EEA nationals with non-EEA qualifications and all non-EEA nationals. This includes qualifications from Australia.
Under the Directive, the applicant must be eligible to practise the profession in the country where the professional qualification was obtained and the professional activities covered by the profession in the home and the host country must be the same. Persons with qualifications in nuclear medicine or PET/CT would not be recognised as radiographers in Ireland under the Directive because the range of professional practice required of a radiographer is much broader.
In relation to statutory registration which will apply to both the publicly-funded and the private sector, the Radiographers' Registration Board of the Health and Social Care Professionals Council (CORU) was established in December 2011. The Board is expected to be in a position to establish the register of radiographers later this year. Under the 2005 Act, the process known as grand parenting or grand fathering is to enable existing practitioners who hold specific qualifications listed in the Act (but who may not meet current qualification criteria to be set by the Registration Board) to register during the two year transition period. Following this transition period, the use of the title of radiographer will be restricted to persons on the Register of the Radiographers. It would then be open to an individual with the qualifications specified to seek employment using PET/CT provided the title of radiographer is not used. However, such employment options are not currently available within the HSE.