Sunday 23 September 2018

'Despite the setback the health service experienced, remain focused on your work' - Tony O'Brien in video message to HSE staff

Health Service Executive chief Tony O’Brien has stepped down amid the deepening controversy (Niall Carson/PA)
Health Service Executive chief Tony O’Brien has stepped down amid the deepening controversy (Niall Carson/PA)
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

OUTGOING HSE Director General Tony O'Brien has urged staff to "remain focused on their work" despite the "setback" our health service has suffered during the CervicalCheck scandal.

Mr O'Brien also said that he is "so proud" of HSE staff and was hoping to visit various hospital and ambulance service nationwide before he resigned last night following building political and public pressure.

Two terminally ill mothers - Vicky Phelan and Emma Mhic Mhathuna - who were given incorrect cervical check results had called for Mr O’Brien to resign, a damning internal HSE memo also put pressure on Mr O’Brien to step down.

He recorded a video message today, which was posted on the HSE Live Twitter account.

Mr O'Brien said: "What's important now is despite the setback that the health service has experienced is that we all, you all in fact in this case, remain focused on the important work that you do.

"The HSE, the health services, our health service, delivered by people, by you for people in Ireland, our own families often.

Flowers and Cards that were placed outside the Dail in honour of the women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy Kyran O'Brien
Flowers and Cards that were placed outside the Dail in honour of the women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy Kyran O'Brien

"And it is really important that you continue to do the great work that you have been doing in recent years and for which I am so proud of you."

He also said that he remains proud of his achievements at the helm of the HSE.

"I'm extremely proud of the work you do, in Ireland's health and social care services.

"Within the time I have worked in the HSE, I've had the opportunity to be with many of you delivering care, in hospitals, community settings, the ambulance service, all across the country.

"It would have been my plan, had time permitted, to make some visits like that, before my planned date of departure in a few weeks time, sadly that's not to be.

"What I do know, is that the work that you do, your work, your commitment, your care is a vital part of what makes Ireland, Ireland. It's a vital part of our community infrastructure and I want you to be really proud of everything that you do," he said.

Separately, Minister for Health Simon Harris announced that John Connaghan will carry out the role of Director General of the HSE following the decision of Tony O’Brien to step down.

"I have now designated John Connaghan to carry out the functions of the Director General of the HSE pending a recruitment process which is to be conducted by the Public Appointments Service," Minister Harris said.

"John brings a wealth of senior healthcare management experience at an international level. He will be a tremendous resource in leading the HSE in challenging times. I want to thank John for taking on this interim role."

Mr Connaghan joined the HSE last August as the Deputy Director General and Chief Operating Officer having previously worked for NHS Scotland.

Flowers and Cards that were placed outside the Dail in honour of the women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Flowers and Cards that were placed outside the Dail in honour of the women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy Photo: Kyran O'Brien

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