Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health -

Dr An­gela O’Leary, prin­ci­pal med­i­cal of­fi­cer, Cork and Kerry


My start­ing time de­pends on where I’m based for the day. If in Cork, I start at 6.45am. It can be a busy time in our house — four other peo­ple leads to lots of burnt toast and ket­tle boil­ing.


I hit the of­fice with cof­fee. I man­age the com­mu­nity med­i­cal ser­vices in Cork and Kerry. I re­view emails and list pri­or­i­ties.


I have a tele­con­fer­ence with the Na­tional Im­mu­ni­sa­tion Of­fice and other prin­ci­pal med­i­cal of­fi­cers to re­view the HPV school im­mu­ni­sa­tion pro­gramme. 2016/17 has been a dif­fi­cult year. In­ac­cu­rate and false in­for­ma­tion on the safety of HPV vac­cine has led to de­creased up­take lev­els in 12 to 13-year-old girls. Gar­dasil, the HPV vac­cine, is safe and ef­fec­tive. It pre­vents can­cer and saves lives. More than 90 women die from cer­vi­cal can­cer in Ire­land an­nu­ally. We dis­cuss strate­gies on how to pro­vide par­ents, stu­dents, teach­ers and health pro­fes­sion­als with ac­cu­rate sci­en­tific in­for­ma­tion on the HPV vac­cine.

12 noon

I have a meet­ing with lo­cal com­mu­nity med­i­cal doc­tors to dis­cuss the de­liv­ery of school im­mu­ni­sa­tion pro­grammes in Cork city. There are over 250 pri­mary and sec­ondary schools in the re­gion. Ju­nior In­fant pupils are of­fered 4-in-1 vac­cine (diph­the­ria, po­lio, tetanus and whoop­ing cough) and a sec­ond dose of MMR vac­cine. Cases of measles, mumps and whoop­ing cough still oc­cur and can lead to se­ri­ous ill­ness or death. Im­mu­ni­sa­tion teams also of­fer menin­gi­tis C and Tdap vac­cine to first year pupils. Menin­gi­tis B and C vac­cines are now ad­min­is­tered to chil­dren. Soon we will rarely see cases of meningo­coc­cal menin­gi­tis. We plan how to en­cour­age menin­gi­tis C vac­cine up­take in first years as this will lead to a re­duc­tion in cases in col­lege stu­dents. Lunch is usually at my desk or in the car.


Staff meet­ing in North Cork. As well as pro­vid­ing school im­mu­ni­sa­tions, com­mu­nity med­i­cal doc­tors de­liver com­mu­nity-based child health clin­ics, med­i­cal as­sess­ments of HSE ad­min­is­tered schemes and ser­vices to asy­lum seeker groups. Reg­u­lar re­view of ser­vice pro­vi­sion is es­sen­tial to en­sure ef­fec­tive use of re­sources and equal ac­cess to all.


I catch up on calls be­fore fin­ish­ing.


Home, hope­fully some­one has started cook­ing. For re­lax­ation, I like to read. At the week­end there is time for swim­ming or cy­cling.

“Gar­dasil, the HPV vac­cine, is safe and ef­fec­tive”

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