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Where are they now? Brendan Drumm

AFTER much horse-trading on terms and conditions, Brendan Drumm took the job as first chief of the new HSE in August 2005.

Against the backdrop of a booming economy and money to spare, he set about implementing Mary Harney's vision of a streamlined and efficient health service, with the final dismantling of the old health boards in favour of four new regional authorities.

Lowlights of his tenure include misdiagnosis scandals, child protection service failures, thousands of unreviewed X-rays at Tallaght Hospital and the trolley-clogged A&Es and admin-heavy bureaucracy that still prevail.

However, Drumm locked down new consultant contracts, ushered in primary care centres and introduced greater accountability in the health service. He oversaw the reorganisation of cancer services in eight 'centres of excellence'. He also called a halt to the disastrously over-budget PPARs (personnel, payroll and related systems) fiasco.

His two final years saw him enforcing €1bn in cuts and recruitment freezes across the HSE as the economy crashed.

In 2009, he announced he wouldn't seek to stay a further five years but would finish up in August 2010.

In his mid-50s, he has returned to his academic role as a professor at UCD's School of Medicine, and to clinical practice at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin. The latter job was kept open for him as a condition of his taking the HSE role.

He was appointed to the board of the new (as yet not built) National Paediatric Hospital in last August.

Just before departing, he said it was time for a full review of the effectiveness of the HSE. However, he is satisfied with his achievements, seeing the service reform he started as part of a 15-year project.

An NUI Galway graduate, he is known for his research on stomach bacteria, for which he has received international acclaim.

Sunday Indo Business