The CAI presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee (JOC), on Health on Wednesday 25th April, 2018. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health, is made up of all levels of politicians - Deputys/Senators.
The presenters were: Tony Accardi - President, James Cosgrave - Past President, Lyndsey O' Leary - X ray Officer, Olivia O' Leary Veal - X-Ray Committee and Richard Brown - Secretary General of the World Federation of Chiropractic, (WFC).
We were made aware one week prior to the meeting that the Department of Health, (DOH) and the Faculty of Radiologists would present directly after us. We tried to arrange for all of us to meet at the same time, but were not successful. This meant, that we could not dispute comments made by the two other parties.
Ahead of the 25th meeting, members of our association met with members of the JOC Committee, individually. All of the JOC committee members seemed favourabe towards us at these meetings, which proved very beneficial.
The structure of the meeting was that we were given an opportunity for an opening statement and then the committee members asked questions. The questions are asked in succession and recorded. When all questions were asked, (approximately 15), we then got an opportunity to answer them. The question and answer session went very well - we are confident that we handled the meeting very well. This was not only our impression but that of our Public Affairs Representative and Richard Brown. Dr. Brown did an excellent job presenting the international perspective. We covered all items that we planned on.
Dr. Tony Holohan, the Chief Medical Officer, (CMO) presented for the Department of Health, he admitted to the chair that he knew nothing about the training and education of Chirpractors, yet he advises the Minister for Health, in regard to the matter of Ionising Radiaton and Chiropractors. The Chiropractic Association of Ireland had forwarded documentation outlining the education, (including radiological) and training of Chiropractors, previous to this meeting. The CMO and the radiologists testified that they do not foresee any change to the present status, with regard to Chiropractors referring to private facilities for x-rays. Currently when a Chiropractor finds an x-ray necessary for a patient, a referral slip is sent to the radiologists; for approval. While this is far from an ideal situation, it has been working well. The bill needs to lists Chiropractors as referrers to ensure a timely diagnosis and treament plan for patients.
The Association would like to thank each of the members that presented to the JOC as well as Clive Dennis, committee member. Each has sacrificed many hours over the past 5 months, for this cause. Great thanks also goes to the European Chiropractic Union (ECU), for their support, advice and input over the past 5 months.
The CAI greatly appreciates the WFC for allocating the Secretary General, Dr. Richard Brown, as he dedicated his expertise and time to the CAI. He put a great deal of effort into this through: research, editing documents, advice and his testimony on the day of the meeting.
The meeting was televised and is avalable for viewing at the following website:
Copy and paste this link into you browser and skip forward to 2:54 for the CAI session.
Now that the meetings are over, the Joint Oireachtas Committee will review the testimony and decide if they are going to send a recommendation to the Government: e.g. include Chiropractors in the Ionising Radiation Bill. Then it is up to the Government, as to whether they will heed the comments of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health.
The CAI received an indication on 7th March that the Chiropractic Association of Ireland (CAI), will be given an opportunity to present at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health (JOC).
Three members of the CAI: Dr. Heather Tompson, Dr. James Cosgrave an Dr. Lyndsey O' Leary met with Dr. MIchael Harty, the Chair of the JOC. This was an informal meeting, but much was accomplished. Dr. Harty was open and receptive to our initiative. The meeting lasted nearly an hour. He assured them that the CAI would get a meeting with the JOC, but it may not be until end of April. He also mentioned that the members of the JOC appear very supportive of Chiropractors. Dr. Harty said they recommended to the Government that the Statutory Instrument, not be signed until after the meeting. He also mentioned that the Department of Health, (DOH), will be invited to the meeting as well.
The date for the CAI's appearance before the JOC, has now been set for the 25th April. The JOC did send a letter to the Department of Health (DOH), recommending that the Statutory Instrument should not be signed before the meeting.
The CAI appreciate the support of so many TD's; they have been excellent at asking Parliamentary Questions, unfortunately they all seem to get a similar response from the minister. All TD's are invited to the JOC, we do hope many will attend. Now would be a good time to make contact again with your local TD, to remind them that this campaign is ongoing.
The President of the CAI had sent another letter on 23rd February, to Minister Harris, asking for a meeting with him and Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Offcer at the Department of Health. A reply was received from the Minister's Private Secretary; it basically stated 'due to a full schedule, the Minister will not be able to meet with the CAI'.
While this is disappointing, it is not surprising and we have not given up hope. Obviously, Minister Harris has quite a few other issues to deal with presently, e.g. Referendum on Repealing the 8th Amendment.
We were initially going to supply the TD's with many more documents; however Depuy Harty has mentioned that TD's appreciate concise infomation. We are currently working on a plan for the JOC meeting. We wll be contacting the members of the JOC, thanking them for their support and supplying them with further information in advance of the meeting.
Dr. Tony Accardi, President CAI