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New Society for public health specialists aims to provide ‘dynamic leadership’

By David Lynch - 21st Dec 2021

Connecting last jigsaw puzzle piece.

A new society for specialists in public health medicine (SPHMs) in Ireland aims to provide “dynamic leadership”
on issues including the “model of public health medicine as part of Sláintecare”, this newspaper has been told.

The Irish Society of Specialists in Public Health Medicine (ISSPHM) held its formal launch via a webinar earlier this month.

“We formally started working on founding this new Society earlier this year, spurred by the challenges we faced in managing this pandemic effectively and the clear need for our expert views to be represented,” Dr Douglas Hamilton, Interim Vice Chair of the ISSPHM, told the Medical Independent.

He noted that the previous launch date was postponed due to the HSE cyberattack.

“Many of us have been advocating for such an organisation since our training days,” he said. “The need for a credible, independent, and expert voice on public health issues has always been there, through the trolley crisis, CervicalCheck, outpatient waiting lists, etc. The global pandemic is only the latest public health challenge to affect our health and health system.”

Dr Hamilton continued: “The role of the ISSPHM is to provide an independent platform for SPHMs to effectively advocate for the best health and healthcare systems possible. We hope to unite and empower SPHMs to provide a strong, cohesive voice to better inform the public, Government, politicians, and health professionals on public health issues.”

He added that the ISSPHM would be looking to provide “dynamic leadership on public health issues including the delivery of a new, safe, effective, and sustainable service delivery model of public health medicine as part of Sláintecare”.

In May, an historic agreement was signed between the HSE, Department of Health and IMO to establish 84 consultant in public health medicine posts over three phases between June 2021 and December 2023.

Last month, the HSE stated that the campaigns for 30 of the 34 phase one consultant posts had progressed to recruitment, with the remaining four progressing through the approvals process for campaign launch by the end of the year.

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