Public health medicine specialists vote for industrial action

IMO seeking release of long-delayed review of sector, and engagement with its findings

The IMO said industrial action would commence on January 14th when members would put in place a work-to-rule in the public health out-of-hours service. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The IMO said industrial action would commence on January 14th when members would put in place a work-to-rule in the public health out-of-hours service. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

 

Specialists in public health medicine are to commence industrial action in mid-January, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said.

The doctors are seeking the Department of Health to publish a review of public health medicine which was originally scheduled to be completed more than a year ago, and to put in place a plan for a talks process on its findings.

The chairwoman of the IMO’s public health committee, Dr Ina Kelly, said the strength of feeling among specialists in public health medicine was reflected in the unanimous vote for industrial action.

Work-to-rule

The IMO said industrial action would commence on January 14th when members would put in place a work-to-rule in the public health out-of-hours service. It said the industrial action would subsequently escalate to a full withdrawal from the out-of-hours system if the union’s demands were not met.

Dr Kelly said the IMO was seeking the Department of Health to release the Crowe Horwath review of public health medicine to the union and to agree a detailed plan of engagement on the report.

The IMO said the report had been long delayed but that Minister for Health Simon Harris had told the union’s annual conference in April that it had been completed and delivered to the Department of Health.

Not released

However, the IMO said the review had still not been released by the department.

The IMO said the recent Scally report into the CervicalCheck controversy had stated: “The time has surely come where public health physicians are accorded the same recognition as clinical colleagues and their skills deployed at the core of all public health programmes. I hope that movement on this matter can take place in the near future.”

The IMO said public health specialists had to undergo higher specialist training in common with their consultant colleagues, “yet are not accorded recognition as consultants in Ireland”.