Funding for the second phase of public health consultant appointments has been approved, this newspaper has been informed.
Concerns were expressed at the IMO AGM in late May that funding for the second round of consultant posts had yet to receive sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER).
However, a DPER spokesperson confirmed to the Medical Independent (MI) that sanction for the 30 posts had since been approved.
In May 2021, IMO public health specialists voted to approve an agreement with the Department of Health, which included a commitment to establish 84 consultant posts, with 34 to be filled in the first phase. The recruitment process was to take place in three phases between June 2021 and December 2023.
According to figures provided to MI last month, almost all the 34 first phase appointments have been made. The outstanding appointments include a national director of public health and a national health protection surveillance position, both of which are “currently in second round campaigns”, stated the HSE.
According to the HSE National Service Plan 2022, the 34 posts in phase one will have “a priority focus” on health protection and public health area leadership.
The plan aims to recruit phase two consultant posts by June 2023 to deliver clinical leadership and capacity across public health practice.
The final 20 posts (phase three) are due to be in place by the end of December 2023.
Consultants in public health medicine appointed prior to the introduction of the planned Sláintecare contract will be on the common consultant contract, the HSE told this newspaper.