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Donnelly announces plans to double number of public health staff in Ireland

Donnelly made the announcement during this morning’s Covid-19 Oireachtas Committee.

Image: Oireachtas TV

HEALTH MINISTER STEPHEN Donnelly has confirmed plans to double the number of public health staff in Ireland.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were 254 people working full-time across Ireland’s public health workforce. 

Speaking at this morning’s Covid-19 Oireachtas Committee, Donnelly confirmed this number will be doubled. 

In the next two weeks, the HSE will begin a recruitment campaign for 255 staff, including public health doctors, public health nurses, scientists and support staff, the Minister told the committee. 

Outlining the role of public health staff during the pandemic, Donnelly said: “These teams have been charged with critical jobs, including outbreak management, clinical queries, surveillance management, the operation management of surge capacity and complex contact tracing. 

“The also play a key role in protecting all of us from other communicable diseases and environmental hazards.” 

Donnelly also announced this morning that he is creating consultant posts for public health doctors. Cabinet yesterday approved the legislation necessary for this. 

“I will now be progressing with this in consultation with unions,” he said. 

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The Health Minister confirmed that he is today sessioning €30 million for the continuation of the Temporary Assistance Payment Scheme for nursing homes. 

“This will extend the much needed support to nursing homes, up to the end of this year,” he said, adding that further supports will be examined for next year “in the context of the budgetary process”. 

Members of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), including Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn, are also present at this morning’s Committee.

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