Australian tipped for top HSE job pulls out of race
THE search for a new head of the HSE received another setback yesterday after a top-ranking Australian tipped as the favourite for the job pulled out of the race.
Mick Reid, the director general of Queensland Health, confirmed he will be staying in Australia although he was "flattered" by the approach.
Mr Reid's withdrawal follows the earlier departure of the preferred candidate, former cancer tsar Tom Keane, who turned down the post and is now back in Canada after failing to get reassurances on HSE funding and staffing.
A HSE spokesman refused to comment on the latest development and would only say that it is in "close discussion" with a number of candidates.
It is believed two others are still part of a final shortlist and no decision will be made for some weeks. The job is seen as the ultimate poisoned chalice and now has a reduced salary of €230,000 -- compared with the €370,000 per annum earned by the outgoing chief, Professor Brendan Drumm.
Sydney- born Mr Reid, who has extensive experience of health reform, was seen as an ideal choice to take over when Prof Drumm ends his five-year term in August.
However, Mr Reid told the Irish Independent yesterday that having worked in the Australian health system for over 25 years he is "frequently contacted about senior leadership positions in health".
And he confirmed he had discussions with members of the HSE board.