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Interim appointments made to national genetics and genomics office

By David Lynch - 28th May 2023

genetics and genomics

Interim appointments are being made to the National Office for Genetics and Genomics to “accelerate” its establishment, this newspaper has learned.

The National Strategy for Accelerating Genetic and Genomic Medicine in Ireland was published in December 2022. An implementation plan for 2023 was released earlier this month.

A HSE spokesperson told the Medical Independent that Dr Mark Bale has been appointed as Interim Director for the National Office for Genetics and Genomics and will be responsible for coordinating a national approach to establishing the programme for Ireland. Dr Bale is a former genomics advisor to the UK’s Department of Health.

“In addition, interim appointments will be made for the National Clinical Director, National Clinical Laboratory Director, and National Bio-Informatics Director for the national office…. They will be in post by the middle of 2023,” the spokesperson continued.

Interim appointments are being made for the senior positions in the first instance to “accelerate the establishment” of the office.

The paperwork to progress the permanent posts will commence in the background. Posts of this level can take some time to recruit, according to the HSE.

The spokesperson added that recruitment for managerial and administrative roles for the national office was also under way.

“Once the national office has been established and each of the leadership positions are in post, work will begin on the development of a workforce plan to support the recruitment, retention, education, and career development of the current and future genetics and genomics workforce.”

In 2023, some €2.7 million was allocated to support the initial implementation phase of the strategy. This funding will be used to establish the national office and to recruit a number of roles, including additional clinical geneticists, genomic resource associates, and genetic counsellors.

A strategy implementation steering group, which is chaired by the HSE Chief Clinical Officer, held its first meeting in April.

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