Public Health Committee of IMO agrees to ballot members on proposed agreement to resolve 20-year dispute with recommendation to accept
- Public Health Committee of IMO agrees to ballot members on proposed agreement to resolve 20-year dispute with recommendation to accept.
- Agreement will see HSE create 84 Consultant posts in Public Health for first time ever
- Incoming chair of the public health committee of the IMO - "In terms of the development of public health in Ireland this is a landmark agreement which has the potential to transform public health in this country" (Dr. Ann Dee)
Thursday 15th April 2021. The Public Health Committee of the IMO has met to consider the terms of an agreement with the Department of Health to resolve the long running dispute with the Government. The agreement was reached after intensive negotiations between the Public Health Committee of the IMO and the Department of Health and the HSE. The Committee has decided to put the proposals to a ballot of members with a recommendation that they be accepted.
Key Terms of Agreement:
- Under the proposed agreement, the Department of Health and HSE has agreed to create 84 Consultant grade posts in Public Health (from zero currently).
- 34 of these will be filled over the coming 12 months.
- A further 30 will be filled between June 2022 and June 2023.
- The final 20 posts will be filled between June 2023 and December of that year.
- Appointments will be made on the Common Consultant Contract. (Any new contract agreed for consultants will see existing appointments move to this contract and future posts be offered it).
- A new model for Public Health Medicine which reforms the operating and governance structure within Public Health, introducing a more fit-for-purpose National and Regional management structure across each of the pillars of Public Health
Background to Dispute
This dispute has been going on for 20 years. It is centred on the refusal of successive Governments to extend the grade of Consultant to suitably qualified Public Health Specialists as recommended by successive independent reports on the issue and as is normal in other countries. Ireland is unique in having no consultants in the public health service in the country.
Late last year, Public Health doctors voted to take strike action to pursue the matter. However, in the interests of patients and the critical work of Public Health Medicine in fighting the pandemic the strike action was deferred to allow for talks with the Department of Health and the HSE.
Speaking this evening, Dr. Ann Dee, incoming Chairperson of the Public Health Committee of the IMO said; “In terms of the development of public health in Ireland this is a landmark agreement which has the potential to transform public health in this country. We will be recommending to our members that they accept this agreement. It is the culmination of a 20-year campaign to put Irish Public Health Medicine on a par with the rest of the medical profession.”
She continued: “this agreement will bring Ireland into line with other jurisdictions such as New Zealand, Australia, UK and Canada in having the role of Consultant in Public Health Medicine. All existing Specialists in Public Health Medicine will have the opportunity to apply for new posts and we can finally see this critical speciality afforded the respect it deserves. It will also support our efforts to recruit the next generation of public health doctors who will be relieved to see that Ireland will now respect their skillset in the same manner as other specialties and as other countries do.”