Cancer tsar Keane in talks for top HSE job
Former national cancer tsar Professor Tom Keane is believed to be discussing terms and conditions for the position of Health Service Executive chief. Dublin-born Prof Keane is understood to be the preferred candidate to take over when Professor Brendan Drumm finishes his five-year contract in August.
Prof Keane spent two years here as interim national director for cancer control but returned to Canada in November when his posting ended.
However, Prof Keane is believed to be reluctant to commit himself to five years, so the contract is likely to run for two to three years.
Central to the talks will be his proposed pay packet, which is thought to be much lower than his two-year contract as cancer director.
The expected salary will be in the region of €250,000 as laid down by the Review Body on Higher Remuneration, which said it should be around €303,000. The lower sum is due to the pay cut and pension levy. It is unclear if any bonus payments will be added on to the salary, although their inclusion could be seen as sending out the wrong message at a time of protests at cuts in public pay.
Prof Keane, whose background is in cancer services, would be required to deal with a whole range of areas outside his previous experience, including child care and social services, should he take over as HSE boss.
Prof Keane has spent most of his career in Canada where he held a senior post in cancer services.
He was asked by Health Minister Mary Harney to come back to Ireland in 2007 to head the reform of cancer services and agreed after getting a two-year leave of absence from his position in Canada.