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HPSC Director role filled on interim basis pending reforms

The Director role in the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) remains filled on an interim basis, the HSE has confirmed.

Asked if it was still seeking a permanent HPSC Director, and at what salary level, a HSE spokesperson said that “in the future service delivery model, this role will be clinical lead for surveillance”. The “filling of the post will form part of the Crowe Horwath recruitment strategy”.

The Crowe Horwath report, published in December 2018, proposed fundamental strategic and structural change in public health and stated that “serious consideration” should be given to granting consultant status to public health doctors meeting defined criteria.

The role of HPSC Director has not been permanently filled since the retirement of previous Director Dr Darina O’Flanagan in 2016.

In March, the Medical Independent (MI) reported that Dr Lorraine Doherty would shortly take up the new position of HSE National Clinical Director in Health Protection, which would also include running the HPSC.

MI reported that Dr John Cuddihy would no longer be HPSC Interim Director, but would continue in his role as HSE Director of Public Health. However, Dr Cuddihy has continued to be described as Interim Director of the HPSC in a number of official communications.

A HSE spokesperson told MI that Dr Doherty’s role, as National Clinical Director, is to lead the health protection service nationally.

All departments of public health, the HPSC, and the National Immunisation Office (NIO) are accountable to Dr Doherty for their health protection roles. Dr Cuddihy, along with the eight regional Directors of Public Health and the Director of Public Health, NIO, supports Dr Doherty in the delivery of health protection nationally.

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