Press Release

Statement from Department of Health and Children in response to the IMO´S Statement in relation to Public Health Doctors

In December, 2002 the IMO advised that Public Health Doctors were refusing to participate in the implementation of planning in relation to biological threats.

It is acknowledged that there are issues which need to be addressed in accordance with established industrial relations machinery and in the context of Government pay policy.

It is unacceptable that public health doctors should take this action. Public health doctors have responsibility in relation to the control and surveillance of infectious diseases. The issue of whether infectious diseases are spread intentionally or otherwise is not relevant to the need to provide an infectious disease service

In May, 2002 the Department published a detailed contingency plan in relation to biological threats. On foot of that plan, it has proceed to draw up detailed operational plans and protocols to give effect to the recommendations contained in the report.

Public health doctors alongside a range of other healthcare professionals are included in these plans. Notwithstanding the industrial relations issues that remain to be resolved, the Minister calls on public heath doctors to participate fully in all planning in relation to biological threats.