The key amendments include:
- An onus on applicants to declare any previous convictions or sanctions imposed by any regulatory body inside or outside the state,
- Disciplinary inquiries in other jurisdictions can now be used as admissible evidence in fitness to practise proceedings in this country,
- Full publication of all disciplinary sanctions on doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists,
- A new right to appeal to the High Court when minor sanctions of advice, admonishment or a censure have been imposed.
The five acts are the Dentists Act 1985, the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005, the Pharmacy Act 2007, the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 and the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011.
A number of other amendments will be made to speed up the fitness to practise process for medical practitioners, nurses and midwives.
The Bill will also amend the Health Act 1953 to remove specific requirements regarding the composition of interview boards for consultant posts in teaching hospitals, which had resulted in delays in establishing panels.
A number of the amendments result from the modernised Professional Qualifications Directive (2013/55/EU), which Ireland transposed into law in January 2017.
This Directive, providing for the mutual recognition of qualifications, will no longer apply to Britain as a full Member State, but rather as a third country.
This is relevant given the volume of health professionals movement between Ireland and Britain.
As a third country, Britain will no longer report restrictions or prohibitions on practise under the alerts system of the Professional Qualifications Directive.