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Govt to ‘expand and support’ public health workforce

The Government will “continue to expand and support” the HSE public health workforce by increasing clinical and administrative staffing to provide strategic advice, guidance and support to the wider health service, according to its Covid-19 action plan.

The cross-sectoral plan, published this evening, also commits to ensuring “parity of status, training and career structure for specialists in public health medicine, so that they are appropriately empowered to strategically lead and direct the health service Covid-19 response”.

Earlier today, Minister for Health Simon Harris said “a massive national recruitment campaign” for healthcare workers will be launched tomorrow.

“If you’re a nurse, maybe retired a few years, or a doctor who has been retired a few years, you were a healthcare professional, you want to come back, we need you, your country needs you,” said Minister Harris.

Other health sector measures in the action plan include enhancing ongoing disease surveillance and real-time data collection by public health departments to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre to provide timely information, enabling rapid planning and decision making by the national public health emergency team.

The HSE will also “continue to develop and implement an agreed clinical model of care to support the management of the overall response to Covid-19 which seeks to prevent spread and manage the assessment and treatment of patients in the community as far as possible.”

One of the specific action areas is maintaining critical and ongoing services for essential patient care.

This includes ensuring ongoing services for specialties including trauma, cancer, obstetrics, CF and organ transplant services; and maintaining urgent (elective) activity including urgent diagnostics, cancer rapid access clinics and dialysis

The plan commits to engaging acute oncology clinical nurse specialists “to reduce the number of oncology patients being admitted to acute services and to avoid unnecessary admissions through emergency departments”.

Central to Ireland’s approach to date, and continuing under the plan, will be public health measures such as: case detection, expanding the testing of individuals for Covid-19 infection; enhancing contact tracing to identify, monitor and contain the further spread of disease; utilising advanced modelling and surveillance to provide timely information about the evolving impact across Ireland so as to enable rapid planning, decision-making and response.    

The document can be accessed on this page –  https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/

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