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Former interim HSE Director General (DG) Mr John Connaghan told the Minister for Health Simon Harris that he believed he had brought “some stability” to HSE operations compared to the early part of 2018.
Mr Connaghan made the assessment in his short letter to Minister Harris announcing his intention to step down from the DG position, a copy of which has been seen by the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request.
The letter also reveals that Mr Connaghan had indicated back in August that he may be leaving before the end of 2018.
Mr Connaghan became interim DG of the HSE following the decision of Mr Tony O’Brien to step down from the position in May during the CervicalCheck controversy.
Mr Connaghan wrote the letter to Minister Harris on 11 December, when he confirmed “with some personal regret” that his last working day as DG would be at the end of December.
“As you know, I intimated to the Secretary General in August this year that family commitments and the prospect of a new senior post in the Scottish Government would lead me to stand down at the end of the year,” Mr Connaghan wrote to Minister Harris.
“I would like to think that in my tenure as Director General, we have made improvements to the delivery of health and brought some stability to our operations compared to the early part of this year.
“I have enjoyed working with you and I know that at the end of the day, you always put patients’ interests first. It has been a career highlight to serve the Government and the people of Ireland as Director General.”
The Minister asked Deputy DG Ms Anne O’Connor to occupy the role until the recruitment process for a permanent HSE Director General concludes.
A HSE spokesperson told MI that the Public Appointments Service is currently running a “competition for the position of Director General/CEO”. The closing date for receipt of applications was 10 January.
“A competition at this level would generally take approximately six-to-eight weeks from the closing date to be concluded,” said the spokesperson.
“The successful candidate would generally take up the position no later than three months after the announcement, depending on the amount of notice required by their current employer.”
The current approved salary for the HSE DG is €199,136 per annum.
Minister Harris publicly thanked Mr Connaghan for his commitment and “dedication to the role” and wished him “the best in his new position on his return to Scotland”.