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HSE chief Paul Reid to step down in early October – two months before his planned resignation date

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Handout photo of HSE CEO, Paul Reid

Handout photo of HSE CEO, Paul Reid

Handout photo of HSE CEO, Paul Reid

HSE chief Paul Reid will step down from the role in early October – two months before his official resignation date.

Mr Reid said today he will leave on October 3 after announcing in June he would leave his €420,000 a year job in December.

A senior Fianna Fáil TD said Department of Health secretary general Robert Watt should be put in charge of the HSE in order to justify his €300,000 a year salary.

Barry Cowen has called for the Government to use the departure of Mr Reid in October to "finally end the dysfunction between the Department of Health and the HSE" and appoint Mr Watt as secretary general of the HSE as well as the department.

"Robert Watt should be made secretary general of both organisations to end the farce of these two institutions marking one another all the time and absorbing resources competing with one another that instead should be focused on patients," Mr Cowen said.

He said that Mr Watt’s controversial salary, which is €81,000 more than any other department secretary general, would be justified if he took charge of both organisations.

"The HSE and the department should have one chief executive overseeing healthcare in Ireland. It is time to end the political footballs between the department and the HSE and reform services for the patients," he said.

Mr Cowen, a former Cabinet minister, said that it is "time to end this arm’s length separation of the HSE and the Government", describing the establishment of the HSE as a "good idea executed badly".

He questioned whether the Government has abandoned the Sláintecare cross-party reform plan to overhaul healthcare in Ireland.

The Offaly TD added: "The HSE and the Department of Health need to be restructured to look at health in two ways, acute and community, rather than in the current method which appears to look at healthcare with 57 different varieties of views, structures and teams."

Mr Reid was on a five-year contract which was due to last until 2024, but in a surprise move earlier this summer he announced he would be cutting his tenure short.

His place will be taken on an interim basis by the HSE’s chief financial officer Stephen Mulvany, while the search gets underway for a successor.

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Mr Reid will leave before the HSE faces into one of its toughest winters yet amid another inevitable surge in Covid and a the threat of a winter flu outbreak.

In a Twitter post today he said he had annual leave built up allowing him to make the earlier exit.

In a message to staff he said: ”I will be in touch with you all again as we come closer to the handover date to Stephen.”

"But once again, I want to say that this has been a really tough decision for me to make. I will truly miss leading the best workforce in the country."

However, his replacement will see their power diminish, as it is supposed to be devolved to six regional authorities by 2024.

Mr Reid told staff earlier this summer he could not have operated at such a high level of pressure without the support of his wife Margaret and family.

“They have made many sacrifices along the way to support me,” he said.

“I now want to give back some quality time and enjoy some space with our young granddaughter.”

His departure follows the exit of chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan in June and deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn last Spring.

HSE chief operations officer Anne O’Connor also left the HSE earlier this summer.

Mr Mulvany has long time experience of the health service having previously managed services in the north east.


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