New group formed to supply evidence to support NPHET's Covid-19 restrictions

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

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A large new committee of Covid-19 experts has been set up to inform the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) about the advice about restrictions such as the shutting of wet pub it decides to give to the Government to stem the spread of the coronavirus in Ireland.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the health service watchdog, has today announced details of its new structures to provide evidence-based advice and support to the NPHET.

Earlier this month, HIQA said the Government announced a move towards a sustainable response to the public health emergency. In response to requests from NPHET, HIQA says it now provides evidence-based advice directly to NPHET.

Dr Máirín Ryan is HIQA’s Director of Health Technology Assessment and Deputy Chief Executive.

“Since March 2020, HIQA’s Health Technology Assessment Directorate has been providing research evidence to support the work of NPHET, NPHET Expert Advisory Group, other NPHET subgroups and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, as part of the public health response to COVID-19.

“This structural change sees HIQA taking the lead on developing evidence-based advice to inform public health policy, advice and practice in the context of COVID-19. To do this, we have set up a dedicated evidence synthesis team and a COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group. This work is in line with our functions under Section 8 of Health Act 2007,” she said.

HIQA says its advice advice to NPHET is informed by research evidence developed by HIQA’s COVID-19 Evidence Synthesis Team, with expert input from HIQA’s COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group.

A statement said the COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group is a multidisciplinary group, comprising nominated representatives from the relevant clinical specialities and areas of expertise, methodology experts and public representation. The group met for the first time today — Tuesday, 29 September 2020.

Dr Ryan continued: “This robust process will ensure that public health decisions continue to be informed by rapid access to the best available evidence relevant to the outbreak at each stage of the pandemic. Our work supports the diverse evidence needs of NPHET in leading the national public health response to COVID-19.”

The advice from HIQA to NPHET and the underpinning evidence is published at www.hiqa.ie. 

Terms of Reference for HIQA’s COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group

In relation to COVID-19-related evidence synthesis, members of the Expert Advisory Group (EAG) will:

1.    Contribute to the provision of high-quality research by HIQA.

2.    Contribute fully to the work, debate and decision-making processes of the group by providing expert guidance, as appropriate.

3.    Be prepared to provide expert advice on relevant issues outside of group meetings, as requested.

4.    Provide advice to HIQA regarding the scope of an analysis.

5.    Support the Evidence Synthesis Team led by HIQA during the research process by providing access to pertinent data, as appropriate.

6.    Review draft reports from the Evidence Synthesis Team and recommend amendments, as appropriate.

7.    Support the development of evidence-based advice from HIQA to NPHET on behalf of the Department of the Minister for Health and to the HSE using a structured Evidence to Advice framework.

8.    Contribute to HIQA’s development of its approach to health services research by participating in an evaluation of the process on occasion.

9.    Notify the project lead if a nominee can no longer participate or contribute to the process as non-participation may require alternative EAG membership to be sought.

Membership of HIQA’s COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group

Dr Máirín Ryan (Chair) Director of Health Technology Assessment & Deputy Chief Executive Officer, HIQA

Dr Niamh Bambury Specialist Registrar in Public Health Medicine, HSE- Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC)

Prof Karina Butler Consultant Paediatrician and Infectious Diseases Specialist, Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin & Chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee

Dr Jeff Connell Assistant Director, UCD National Virus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin

Dr Eibhlín Connolly Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health

Prof Máire Connolly Adjunct Professor of Global Health and Development, National University of Ireland, Galway

Prof Martin Cormican Consultant Microbiologist & National Clinical Lead, HSE Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control Team

Ms Sinead Creagh Medical Scientist, Laboratory Manager at Cork University Hospital & Academy of Clinical Science and Laboratory Medicine

Dr Ellen Crushell* Consultant Paediatrician, Dean, Faculty of Paediatrics, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland & Co-National Clinical Lead, HSE Paediatric/Neonatology Clinical Programme

Dr John Cuddihy Specialist in Public Health Medicine & Interim Director, HSE — Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC)

Dr Cillian de Gascun Consultant Virologist & Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin

Dr Lorraine Doherty National Clinical Director Health Protection, HSE — Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC)

Ms Josephine Galway National Director of Nursing, Infection Prevention Control and Antimicrobial Resistance, AMRIC
Division, HSE- Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC)

Dr Vida Hamilton Consultant Anaesthetist & National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead, Acute Hospital Operations Division, HSE

Dr David Hanlon General Practitioner & National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead, Primary Care/Clinical Strategy and Programmes, HSE

Dr Patricia Harrington Head of Assessment, Health Technology Assessment, HIQA

Dr Derval Igoe Specialist in Public Health Medicine, HSE — Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC)

Prof Mary Keogan Consultant Immunologist & National Clinical Lead , HSE Clinical Programme for Pathology

Dr Siobhán Kennelly Consultant Geriatrician & National Clinical & Advisory Group Lead, Older Persons, HSE

Ms Sarah Lennon Executive Director, SAGE Advocacy

Mr Andrew Lynch Business Manager, Office of the National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead - Mental Health, HSE

Dr Gerry McCarthy * Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Cork University Hospital & National Clinical Lead, HSE Clinical Programme for Emergency Medicine

Prof Paddy Mallon Consultant in Infectious Diseases, St Vincent's University Hospital & HSE Clinical Programme for Infectious Diseases

Dr Eavan Muldoon* Consultant in Infectious Diseases, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, National Clinical Lead for CIT and OPAT programmes & HSE Clinical Programme for Infectious Diseases

Dr Desmond Murphy Consultant Respiratory Physician & National Clinical Lead, HSE Clinical Programme for Respiratory Medicine

Dr John Murphy Consultant Paediatrician  & Co-National Clinical Lead,  HSE Paediatric/Neonatology Clinical Programme and

Dr Gerard O’Connor Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital  HSE Clinical Programme for Emergency Medicine

Ms Michelle O’Neill HRB-CICER Programme Manager, Health Technology Assessment Directorate, HIQA

Dr Orlaith O’Reilly Specialist in Public Health Medicine &Joint Clinical Lead, HSE Integrated Programme for Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease

Dr Mary O’Riordan Specialist in Public Health Medicine, HSE — Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC)

Dr Margaret B. O’Sullivan Specialist in Public Health Medicine, Department of Public Health, HSE South & Chair, National Zoonoses Committee

Dr Michael Power Consultant Intensivist, Beaumount Hospital & National Clinical Lead, HSE Clinical Programme for Critical Care

Dr Lynda Sisson Consultant in Occupational Medicine, Dean of Faculty of Occupational Medicine, RCPI & HSE National Clinical Lead for Workplace Health and Well Being

Prof Susan Smith Professor of Primary Care Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Dr Patrick Stapleton Consultant Microbiologist, UL Hospitals Group, Limerick & Irish Society of Clinical Microbiologists

Dr Conor Teljeur Chief Scientist, Health Technology Assessment, HIQA

Ms Anne Tobin Assessment and Surveillance Manager, Medical Devices, Health Products Regulatory Authority