Two decade dispute finds resolution; IMO vote to accept 'landmark' agreement

Two decade dispute finds resolution; IMO vote to accept 'landmark' agreement

A saga impasse reached a resolution on Friday as the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) public health specialists voted to accept “landmark” agreement reached with the Department of Health and the HSE.

A saga impasse reached a resolution on Friday as the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) public health specialists voted to accept “landmark” agreement reached with the Department of Health and the HSE.

The vote brings an end to a two decade long dispute and will see the HSE create 84 Consultant posts in Public Health for the first time ever.

In April, the IMO announced that it had reached agreement with the Department of Health and the HSE on the issue and was putting the matter to a ballot of Public Health Specialists with a recommendation that it be accepted. That ballot has now completed and 87% of returned ballots were in favour of accepting the agreement.

With this mandate from members, the IMO will now ratify the agreement with the State side. 

The IMO said it will actively monitor the implementation of this agreement and will be seeking an early meeting with the HSE with regard to the planned timeline for posts to be advertised in Phase one of the agreement.

Under the agreement, the Department of Health and HSE has agreed to create 84 Consultant grade posts in Public Health with 34 to be filled over the coming 12 months.

A further 30 will be filled between June 2022 and June 2023 and the final 20 posts will be filled between June 2023 and December 31st of that year.

The long-standing dispute centred on the refusal of successive Governments to extend the grade of Consultant to suitably qualified Public Health Specialists as recommended by successive independent reports on the issue and as is normal in other countries.

Chairperson of Public Health Committee of the IMO Dr Anne Dee “This agreement is the culmination of a 20-year campaign to put Irish Public Health Medicine on a par with the rest of the medical profession.

“We welcome the decision of our members to accept the agreement. We believe that it is a landmark agreement for the future of public health in Ireland and will bring the public health discipline here into line with other jurisdictions such as New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Canada in having the role of Consultant in Public Health Medicine.” 

Dr Dee continued; “All existing Specialists in Public Health Medicine will have the opportunity to apply for new posts and this agreement will support our efforts to recruit the next generation of public health doctors who will be relieved to see that Ireland will now respect their skillset in the same manner as other specialities and as other countries do.”


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