Irish Medical Organisation

IMO Ballot of Specialists in Public Health Medicine Returns Unanimous Vote in Favour of Industrial Action

The Irish Medical Organisation’s ballot of their Specialist in Public Health Medicine members has returned an overwhelming mandate for Industrial Action


The strength of feeling amongst Specialists in Public Health Medicine has been accurately reflected in the unanimous vote, Dr Ina Kelly, IMO Public Health Chair stated.

The Industrial Action, which is set to commence on the 14th January will see IMO members commence a work to rule in the Public Health Out of Hours System with the action set to escalate to full withdrawal from the Out of Hours system in the event IMO demands are not met.

Dr Kelly explained that the IMO are seeking that the Department of Health share the Crowe Howarth Review of Public Health Medicine with the union and agree a detailed plan of engagement on the report with the IMO.

The report has been long delayed and was originally due to be completed in summer of 2017. In April of this year, at the IMO AGM Minister for Health Simon Harris stated:

“I am very pleased to be able to say here today that the Review of Public Health Medicine has now been completed and was delivered to my Department this week. The implementation process will now be led from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer in my Department.”

The report has still not been released.

The recent Scally Report into CervicalCheck stated:

“The time has surely come where public health physicians are accorded the same recognition as clinical colleagues and their skills deployed at the core of all public health programmes. I hope that movement on this matter can take place in the near future.”

Public Health Specialists undergo higher specialist training in common with their consultant colleagues yet are not accorded recognition as consultants in Ireland.

In other jurisdictions, including the NHS, the grade of Consultant in Public Health Medicine is well established and contributes to the maintenance of a properly resourced Public Health function.

Dr Kelly stated that members of the IMO were no longer prepared to accept the status of Specialists in Public Health Medicine as the poor relation of the Irish Health Service and the result of the ballot showed that members were willing to make their voice heard in the fight for equal recognition with their clinical colleagues.

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