The Department of Justice and Office of the State Pathologist (OSP) are continuing to work with the RCPI Faculty of Pathology on progressing specialty status for forensic pathology, the Medical Independent
(MI) has been informed.
A new application to the Medical Council, described as urgent in an RCPI report last year, has not yet been submitted. The RCPI report on the OSP, commissioned by the Department, noted that an application for specialty status was made to the Medical Council in 2011 but “was refused on the basis that there were too few practitioners in Ireland”.
In March 2015, the Council closed the specialty recognition process pending a review, with the process re-opening in March 2019. The RCPI’s report stated that a new application was required “as a matter of urgency” in order to establish a training scheme in forensic pathology in Ireland and “thereby ensure the future of the forensic pathology service”.
The report stated that it “may be possible to overcome concerns regarding the small number of practitioners in this specialty by adequately arguing the service need”.
A Department spokesperson told MI that work was ongoing to progress “this complex matter”.
Meanwhile, the Department confirmed that applications had been received for the roles of State Pathologist and Chief State Pathologist in the latest recruitment campaign, which opened last month. The role of Chief State Pathologist has not been filled permanently since the retirement of Prof Marie Cassidy in 2018.
A second competition for the Chief State Pathologist post and a competition for a State Pathologist post were unsuccessful in 2019.
“The salary scale advertised for the role of Chief State Pathologist in 2019 was a one-point scale of €212,952; the post also carried an entitlement to a call-out allowance, payable per call-out to an incident scene, subject to a maximum annual limit of €22,304. The salary scale advertised for the post in 2020 is a one-point scale of €217,211. The post carries an identical entitlement to the call-out allowance as outlined,” said the spokesperson.
If the recruitment campaign does not yield an appointment, there are “mechanisms in place” to appoint a suitably qualified person in an ‘acting’ capacity. “However, in the event where an urgent, short-term requirement is identified for additional personnel, suitable candidates may be sourced.”