Chair of the IMO public health doctors committee Dr Ina Kelly has described the decision to take strike action as “a very sad day for public health”. However, speaking to the Medical Independent, Dr Kelly said the three days of strike action planned for January was the “only viable option” available.
She said the public health committee spent some time examining in detail the choices available to them, and ultimately felt strike action was the only appropriate course of action. “In the end, strike action is the only viable option…. It’s not a decision we would like to have to make, but it is one we feel is essential now, unfortunately,” said Dr Kelly.
“It’s a very sad day for public health doctors because we have been fighting for this for so long. The concept has all but been agreed to date, but it hasn’t been implemented.
That’s no good, action is what we need.” Public health doctors are seeking consultant status in line with their medical colleagues and improved work models for the profession, as recommended in the 2018 Department of Health-commissioned Crowe Horwath report.
As of press time, the IMO had received no contact from Department of Health officials following the announcement by its members in support of strike action. Dr Kelly warned that public health specialists planned to “fight so hard” for improvements as the alternative was “horrendous”.
“I am not sure the Government understands what a country without a properly functioning public health service would be like,” she said. Currently the strike action is scheduled for 14, 21, 22 January.