Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
State Pathology Service
The positions of Chief State Pathologist and Deputy State Pathologist were advertised by the Public Appointments Service in September 2019. The recruitment process for the Deputy State Pathologist is still ongoing and it is anticipated that the post will be filled in the coming months.
Unfortunately the recruitment process for the Chief State Pathologist failed to identify a suitable candidate. However we are fortunate to have in place the Acting State Pathologist, Dr. Linda Mulligan, who is leading the office in the interim until a more permanent solution can be identified.
As the Deputy may be aware, my Department commissioned a report from the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland which was published last year and found that a shortage of suitably qualified pathologists is a concern worldwide. The report identified a range of issues, including that the remuneration levels were not attractive compared to those available to pathologists working in hospital settings in Ireland or with pathologists in other countries. It also identified the importance of a national training scheme for ensuring self-sufficiency in forensic pathology. My Department accepted those recommendations and immediately engaged with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform which sanctioned an increased remuneration package for the most recent competition. My officials are also engaging with the Medical Council with a view to recognising pathology as a specialism and the other recommendations in the report will also be progressed in consultation with other key stakeholders.
In the meantime, my Department is keeping the situation under review and I am grateful to Dr Mulligan for her dedicated service in these circumstances.