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Expressions of interest call for National Screening Committee

Expressions of interest are now being sought for membership of the National Screening Committee – Ireland.  The positions are advertised on http://www.stateboards.ie/stateboards/campaignAdvert/106797.htm with the closing date for applications of 30 August 2019.  

The Committee will provide independent expert advice in evaluating the evidence for population-based screening programmes in Ireland. In accordance with best practice and to ensure appropriate use of finite resources, the Committee will:

•        Effectively implement an agreed methodology for accepting applications to consider new or revisions to existing population screening programmes;

•        Agree and implement a prioritisation process for the consideration of new or revised population screening programmes;

•        Develop and implement a robust and transparent system to evaluate potential population-based screening programmes against a set of internationally recognised criteria;

•        Clearly communicate the recommendations and the reasoning to the Department of Health, stakeholders and the public on the outcomes of their deliberations;

A wide range of expertise is being sought for the National Screening Committee and potential applicants are encouraged to read the information booklet carefully prior to submission of an application.  

Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Health Simon Harris said: “This is an important milestone following on my appointment of Prof Niall O’Higgins as Chair of the National Screening Committee. We know that carefully planned screening programmes can result in significant population health benefit but sadly we also know that even the best programmes will not be able to benefit every single individual. We need a strong independent voice to inform future policy and I have no doubt that the National Screening Committee will play a pivotal role in our continued education about population screening, its limits as well as its benefits.”

The Scally Report (2018) recommended the establishment of a National Screening Committee to advise the Department and the Minister on all new proposals for screening and revisions to current programmes.

The Committee will be an independent Expert Advisory Committee responsible for considering population screening programmes in Ireland against internationally accepted criteria.  

Following on from the appointment of Prof O’Higgins as Chair, the remaining membership of the Committee is being recruited through an open call for membership, with the closing date for applications being 30 August 2019.

The following range of expertise is currently being sought for the National Screening Committee (one for each area, with the exception of public/patient voice where two members are sought):

•Public Health

•Ethics

•Public/Patient Voice (two members sought)

•Health Economics

•Epidemiology

•Medico-Legal

•Social Scientist

•General Practice

•Paediatrics and Child Health

•Obstetrics

•Cancer

•Genetics

•Laboratory Services

•Nursing and Midwifery

•Journalism

•Diagnostic Imaging

•Pathology

•Psychology

Additional expertise may be co-opted as/when required. According to the Department, the Committee will hold its inaugural meeting in 2019.

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