Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (316)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

316. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the status of talks with public health doctors; if agreement has been reached to upgrade all existing public health specialists to consultant in line with all other specialties; if agreement has been reached on the necessary additional investment in this service; and when he expects this matter to be finalised. [7819/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department and the HSE have met with Irish Medical Organisation to discuss a pathway towards a reformed consultant led public health model in Ireland and related matters. I hope that engagement will continue over the coming weeks with a view to reaching agreement. We want to work with our public health specialists to ensure we have a public health model in place that best meets the future needs of the Irish people. It is also important that Public Health is seen as an attractive career option amongst medical practitioners in Ireland.

The Government is committed to investment in our public health framework and our public health workforce. Last September, I announcement plans to double the current workforce by recruiting an additional 255 permanent staff, at an annual cost of over €17m. This includes public health doctors, nurses, scientists, and support staff. This is not only a response to the current pandemic but is an investment in the future development of our Public Health function. Recruitment for these positions commenced immediately and is progressing well.