The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) has sought IMPACT’s support as it directs its members not to register with the new physiotherapy register under CORU, due to a dispute with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD. IMPACT has requested that physiotherapist members do not register with CORU while the dispute is ongoing.

In a statement, the ISCP explained the background to the dispute, which concerns the protection of the title of physiotherapist and physical therapist: “The ISCP had been seeking assurances from the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, that he intended to fully implement the decision taken by his predecessor, Leo Varadkar, in January 2016 to protect both titles of physiotherapist and physical therapist as a variant in the one register.

“However, an update from Minister Harris has caused huge alarm and has the potential to allow anyone who has called themselves a physical therapist or a physiotherapist, regardless of their qualification, to gain access to the register.

“This is deemed completely unacceptable and poses a huge risk to public safety. In addition this opens the State to potential huge legal liabilities and costs. Ireland is currently out of step with the rest of the world and is the only country where both titles are not protected for the one profession.”

IMPACT national secretary Eamonn Donnelly said the issue came to light just as the register was due to open at the end of September. “It now appears that the issue is unresolved based on an exchange of correspondence between ISCP and the Minister. The ISCP has asked for IMPACT’s support on this issue, which is why we are now directing our physiotherapist members not to register with CORU.

“We are as one with the ISCP on this issue, and until we’re satisfied that this issue has been fully addressed, we will ask our members not to register. IMPACT will engage in discussions with ISCP and will offer further advice to members as things develop,” he said.