Irish Medical Organisation

Statement on planned strike action by Public Health Doctors scheduled for this month

The Public Health Committee of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has met to discuss the strike action by Public Health Doctors scheduled to take place this month.

Given the rapid and escalating incidence of  Covid 19 in Ireland and the critical role of public health specialists in controlling the virus and breaking chains of transmission,  the Committee has decided to defer three days of strike action planned for 14th, 20th and 21st January. 

The Committee will review the situation again at the end of January. 

Dr. Ina Kelly, Chair of the IMO Public Health Committee, said: “For all the talk from the Government on the importance of supporting public health we are more than disappointed, frustrated and angry that even now our Public Health Departments are wholly under resourced and Government has still not even come to us with proposals to reform the system so that we can have a consultant led public health service.  It is nothing short of disgraceful that we are almost a year into this pandemic and have had no meaningful engagement with Government.”

“This confirms to us that this Government neither respects nor values the work of public health doctors and it strengthens our resolve to win this battle in the coming months in order to protect the future of public health in Ireland.  We went into this pandemic understaffed, under-resourced and under-valued and nothing has changed.  We still have no consultant led public health teams and  inadequate staffing and we are still overwhelmed on a daily basis.” 

“Our decision to defer action is based purely on ethical considerations and our commitment to do the right thing at a time of grave crisis.  This Government has failed to do the right thing.  Our careers are dedicated to public health and to even contemplate industrial action has been an extremely difficult decision yet this Government has forced us to do just that.”

“We can only hope that the Government will take this time to finally recognise the importance of a consultant led service, the need to immediately upgrade current specialists and to recruit additional consultants into the service and to ensure our Departments have permanent support staff. We are doing our best but with the inaction of Government we are fighting this pandemic with too few people who are being asked to do too much.” 

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