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Thursday 18 September 2014

Sec Gen at Dept of Health to step down

Eilish O’Regan Health Correspondent

Published 19/08/2014 | 11:10

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Ambrose McLoughlin,Secretary General,Department of Health arriving for Joint Oireachtas Committee  on Health and Children meeting  at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 8/5/14
Ambrose McLoughlin,Secretary General,Department of Health. Photo: Tom Burke

THE Secretary General of the Department of Health Dr Ambrose McLoughlin is to step down from his post although he will continue in another role until his retirement next year.

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Dr McLoughlin, a trained dentist, who worked in various areas of the health service for forty years, will oversee the Department’s policy on reducing lifestyle-related diseases.

He is stepping down from the top post for personal reasons  but will continue to perform the duties of Secretary General until a successor is appointed.

He will oversee the rollout of the Healthy Ireland policy which was launched last year and aims to cut down on avoidable diseases by getting the nation to adopt healthier habits.

It will mean that the Department will have a new boss as well as a new Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar as the Government heads toward election and grapples with controversial issues, including medical cards, cutbacks and patient safety.

Mr Varadkar, who took over as Minister last month said the Dr McLoughlin will retire in June next year.

His appointment during the tenure of former Health Minister James Reilly was unusual in that he came from outside the publi service and had previously been the head of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland which regulates pharmacists.

He had previously worked in the north eastern health board was was abolished in 2005.

Minister Varadkar paid tribute to Dr McLoughlin for piloting the Department” through one of the most challenging periods for the health sector.‘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’ said the Minister.

‘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.”

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