Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (595)

John Brassil

Question:

595. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health if the grade of consultant in public health medicine will be established here (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44857/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the current structures for public health in Ireland, Public Health Specialists and Directors of Public Health Medicine are not recognised as consultants, though they are on the Medical Council's Specialist Register. Their counterparts in other countries, as the Deputy notes, are recognised as consultants. This anomaly was also raised with me in the course of a meeting with the Medical Council earlier this year.

A new service model for public health is being developed at present. My Department is engaged with the HSE in developing this model in the context of Sláintecare; and also taking into account the recommendations of Dr Gabriel Scally in his Report into CervicalCheck concerning the future role and status of public health medicine and public health specialists. The recommendations in the Crowe Horwath Report concerning the role, training and career structures of Public Health Physicians are also being taken into account.

Consultant status is being addressed as part of this process. It is intended that Public Health Specialists will to be given consultant status when the new framework has been settled and is being implemented in 2020 and beyond. The issue is also being progressed in parallel engagement between my Department, the HSE and the IMO, in the context of the development of the new framework. It is intended that the agreed Consultant Contract will encompass the key roles and functions referred to by the Deputy.