Saturday 24 February 2018

My head is on the block each day, says HSE chief O'Brien

HSE chief Tony O’Brien
HSE chief Tony O’Brien
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

HSE chief Tony O'Brien has said his head is "on the block" almost every day.

Mr O'Brien has two years of his contract as director general of the health service to run.

Earlier this week, it emerged that Health Minister Leo Varadkar sent a memo to senior officials - not including Mr O'Brien - saying heads will roll unless improvements are seen in A&E overcrowding this winter.

Mr O'Brien said the minister has the power to sack him and that as director general his head is on the block almost "every day".

The hope is that overcrowding will be better than in 2014, when it reached record levels, and no worse than 2013, he told the 'Today With Sean O'Rourke' programme on RTÉ radio.

Some 374 patients ended up on trolleys in April 2013 when numbers rose by 2pc.

The modest target means patients can at best hope for a mild reprieve and must brace themselves for long delays on trolleys again.

Mr O'Brien said he plans that 300 hospital beds will be opened but problems recruiting staff may mean that this is not fully possible.

Irish Independent

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