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Last month, the IMO was highly critical of the Executive’s inability to fill this position.
The Director position has been vacant since May 2016, and the HSE has conducted two recruitment campaigns in this time.
“On the first occasion, interviews were held but no appointment made,” an Executive spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI).
“The National Director of Health and Wellbeing has extended the recruitment campaign for the post to include an executive recruitment search and as a consequence, the Health and Wellbeing Division is currently engaged in a procurement process to obtain an agency to conduct that search.
“The recruitment of a Director for HPSC is a key priority for the Health and Wellbeing Division.”
The Executive spokesperson added that Dr Kevin Kelleher is currently filling the leadership role at the top of the HPSC.
“In the interim, Dr Kevin Kelleher, Assistant National Director, Public Health, is providing continuity of leadership and he will continue to cover the vacant position pending the filling of the post.”
The IMO recently termed the continuing vacancy at the HPSC as “an extraordinary state of affairs” requiring an urgent response from the HSE.
“It is widely acknowledged that the HPSC plays a vital role in formulating the national response to increasingly complex and frequent threats to public health. Some of those threats are very high-profile in nature, such as Ebola and Zika,” said the union in a strongly-worded statement.
“While no one solution will make the HSE an attractive employer for specialist medical talent, we believe parity of terms and conditions is a vital element in ensuring that this situation is addressed and that others like it do not arise in the future.
“The settled position of the IMO is that medical specialists in Public Health ought to have the same terms and conditions as their hospital colleagues.”