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Press Release

Minister for Health announces membership of Screening Committee

Published: 21 October 2019
From: Department of Health

Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, has announced the appointment of the membership of the National Screening Advisory Committee (NSAC).

The appointments follow an expression of interest for the expert roles which form the membership of the Committee.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister Harris said:

"This is an important milestone in the continued evolution of population screening programmes in Ireland. I would like to thank each member of the Committee who are volunteering their time and expertise to ensure our screening programme is scrutinised in accordance with international best practice. This Committee intends to work closely with their UK counterparts and other European colleagues, and I am confident that this will ensure that we have a process that is robust, transparent and inclusive and which will ensure that screening programmes in Ireland have a strong supporting evidence base."
"Screening has faced a number of challenges over the past year and the work of the screening committee will play a vital role in helping us to educate the population about screening, its limits and ultimately increasing our screening rates across the country. Screening saves lives."

The Chair of the Committee, Professor Niall O’Higgins, said:

"I welcome the appointment of the members of the Committee. They will bring a range of knowledge and experience to ensure the provision of independent advice on population-based screening programmes. A distinctive element is that the members have been appointed on the basis of their expertise and not because of representation or affiliation."
"The Committee will consider new proposals for screening and also revisions to existing programmes. Recommendations will be based on internationally-accepted evidence and verified standards of current best practice. Among the first functions of the Committee will be to establish a methodology for accepting applications and setting out a prioritisation process for recommended programmes."
"I am confident that with the strong support of the medical profession and the Department of Health the Committee can contribute to efforts to restore and sustain public trust and confidence in population health screening in Ireland."

The National Screening Advisory Committee will begin its important work with its inaugural meeting on 18 November 2019.

Chair of the National Screening Advisory Committee

  • Prof Niall O’Higgins, Professor Emeritus of Surgery, University College Dublin

National Screening Advisory Committee Members

  • Dr Abigail Collins, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, National Cancer Control Programme
  • Dr John Ward, Consultant Radiologist, University Hospital Galway
  • Dr Mary Codd, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCD
  • Dr Sheelagh McGuinness, Reader in Law, University of Bristol Law School
  • Dr Velma Harkins, General Practitioner, Offaly
  • Professor Andrew Green, Consultant in Clinical Genetics and Professor of Medical Genetics, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital.
  • Dr James O’Mahony, Assistant Research Professor, Centre for Health Policy and Management, School of Medicine, Trinity College
  • Martina Fitzgerald, Journalist
  • Irene Regan, Chief Medical Scientist, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital
  • John Gleeson, Solicitor and former partner in Mason Hayes and Curran Solicitors
  • Dr Susan Kent, Assistant National Director, HSE and former Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, Department of Health
  • Dr Keelin O’Donoghue, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Cork University Maternity Hospital
  • Dr Ellen Crushell, Consultant Paediatrician with a special interest in Inherited Metabolic Disorders, Temple Street, Children’s University Hospital and Our Lady’s Children Hospital
  • Dr Paul D’Alton, Associate Professor Principal Clinical Psychologist, St Vincent’s University Hospital
  • Dr Paul Kavanagh, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, HSE.
  • Anne Burke (Public Voice)
  • Jillian van Turnhout (Public Voice)
  • Professor Michael Rigby, Professor Emeritus of Health Information Strategy, Keele University
  • Prof Ciaran O’Neill, Professor of Health Economics, Queens University Belfast


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