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Health Minister 'disappointed' at public health doctor plans to strike for three days in January

The IMO has expressed disappointment at “no meaningful engagement” from the Department of Health for five months.

Updated Nov 30th 2020, 10:38 PM

PUBLIC HEALTH DOCTORS have confirmed plans for three days of strike action in January.

The public health committee of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) met today to consider the “overwhelming” (94%) vote by public health doctors in favour of industrial action in their “fight for parity of esteem with other parts of the health service”, a statement noted.

A statement from the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the minister and the Department of Health are “disappointed” with this decision to take strike action.

“The Minister and the Department hope that issue of consultant status can be resolved through engagement,” the statement said.

The creation of consultant level roles in Public Health Medicine is a priority for the Minister as public health specialists have waited for many years for consultant status.

It added that the department and the HSE have finalised the details of a future public health model, which will include consultant level roles. 

The business case for this plan was submitted to the Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath on 19 November. 

The statement added that the Health Minister and the department “hope that the issue can be resolved through engagement with the IMO” and to avoid strike action in January.

The IMO this evening expressed disappointment at “no meaningful engagement” on the issue from the Department of Health for five months.

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“Currently regardless of qualifications, no public health specialist is recognised as a consultant despite meeting the same criteria as all other consultants appointed in the health service,” a spokesperson noted.

The committee has decided to serve notice of industrial action on the HSE and the Department of Health, saying that if there is no resolution to the issue the following action will commence:

  • Thursday 14 January: One-day strike by specialists and specialist registrars in public health medicine
  • Thursday 21 January and Friday 22 January: Two-day strike by specialists and specialist registrars in public health medicine

With reporting by Christina Finn.

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