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IMO/Department meeting on public health doctors set for end of January

A meeting between officials from the IMO and Department of Health aimed at resolving the ongoing public health dispute is due to take place on Wednesday 27 January. 

The gathering will mark the first engagement between the sides after the IMO deferred planned strike action following an explosion in cases of Covid-19 late last year.

In December IMO public health doctors voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action amid growing frustration at the lack of investment in the profession and sector. 

The Organisation’s public health committee suspended three days of strike action given the dramatic rise in Covid-19 cases but that decision up for review at the end of this month.

Public health specialists are seeking consultant status and a new consultant contract in line with that of their medical colleagues. 

Structural reforms and improved work models for the profession with consultant led teams are also sought in a bid to dramatically improve public health services and attractiveness to the profession. 

Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI), Chair of the IMO public health committee and specialist in public health Dr Ina Kelly said that consultant status and structural reforms were interdependent and that one could not be introduced without the other. 

“We need consultant led teams and multidisciplinary teams to provide a comprehensive service; the best possible service we can,” said Dr Kelly. 

In December 2018 the Department published the Crowe Horwath Report and an Implementation Oversight Group was established to oversee the introduction of a new model for the delivery of public health medicine in Ireland, as recommended in the report. 

The work of the oversight group commenced in March 2019 with a 18-month timeframe for completion, but the recommendations set out in the report have yet to be implemented.

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