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Friday 19 September 2014

Exiting health boss keeps €176k pay until retirement

Published 20/08/2014 | 02:30

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Dr McLoughlin announced he is to step down from the top post but will stay in the department until he retires next June
Dr McLoughlin announced he is to step down from the top post but will stay in the department until he retires next June

DR AMBROSE McLoughlin, who is stepping down as Secretary General of the Department of Health is to retain his €176,350 salary until his retirement next year, it was confirmed.

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His salary will not be affected even though the department will now move to appoint his successor, who will also be one of the country's best-paid civil servants.

Dr McLoughlin announced he is to step down from the top post but will stay in the department until he retires next June.

He is to move to oversee the implementation of the department's Healthy Ireland policy, which aims to reduce the incidence of life-style related diseases.

His decision comes as Health Minister Leo Varadkar, who paid tribute to him yesterday, faces tough negotiations to secure more funding for Health in the October Budget.

Dr McLoughlin will remain until his successor is appointed.

The move was agreed by the minister and the secretary general in the context of his decision to retire in June 2015, after 40 years of service.

Mr Varadkar paid tribute to Dr McLoughlin "for piloting the department through one of the most challenging periods" for the health sector.

He said: "I look forward to continuing to work closely with Ambrose in his new role and expect to rely on his counsel and advice into the future.

"His extensive experience in the health arena will provide invaluable insight and guidance in progressing the achievement of the goals set out in 
the Healthy Ireland framework."

Dr McLoughlin said: "It has been a privilege to serve as Secretary General in the Department of Health and I am very proud to take up this new role".

He faced calls for his resignation from Public Accounts Committee Chairman John McGuinness in recent months as the financial crisis in the health service unfolded for yet another year.

He told the committee that the HSE is facing another €500m overrun this year, requiring yet another bailout from the Government.

In the 1990s, Dr McLoughlin was a senior official in the North Eastern Health Board and was involved in the investigation into revelations that former Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital obstetrician Michael Neary wrongly removed the wombs of a number of his patients.

He recently warned that this generation could be the first parents to bury their children because of rising obesity levels.

Once Dr McLoughlin's successor is appointed, he will oversee the Department's Healthy Ireland policy.

A key aim in his new role will be to get all government departments working to support people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

During his tenure, the health service had seen several controversies, most recently the battle over 
discretionary medical cards and, before that, serious concerns about maternity hospitals.

Irish Independent

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