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Health Minister appoints new Secretary General

11 Sep 2014

Former DoH Secretary General Dr Ambrose McLaughlin

The Minister for Health has announced the appointment of highly regarded and talented civil servant Jim Breslin as new Secretary General (SG) of the Department of Health.

One of the first things Dr Leo Varadkar did upon being reshuffled to the Department of Health was to start a shake-up of Hawkins House with the announcement that the then SG of the Department, Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, an appointee of the former Health Minister Dr James Reilly, would be moving to a new role supporting the implementation of the Healthy Ireland initiative ahead of his retirement next year.

Breslin rejoins Hawkins House from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) where he has served as its inaugural Secretary General for the last three years.

Breslin’s appointment was immediately welcomed by the HSE and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health, Deputy Jerry Buttimer.

“I am delighted that Jim has accepted this appointment as Secretary General. He is returning to the Department of Health, where he is highly regarded by his management colleagues and staff alike, at a time of great change for the health service. With this change comes significant challenges and I am confident that, under Jim’s leadership, the Department can meet these challenges head on and deliver a better health service to the people of Ireland. I look forward to working with him.

“I want to acknowledge the leadership of Dr McLoughlin over the past three years and wish him well in his role with Healthy Ireland,” Minister Varadkar said.

Commenting on the announcement the Director General of the HSE, Tony O’Brien said: “I welcome warmly the appointment of Jim. He comes to the Department of Health with a wealth of experience in healthcare. I look forward to working closely with him over the next number of years with a view to continuously improving the quality of services for our patients and clients.”

He also thanked the outgoing SG for his “considerable guidance and support given to the HSE in its difficult task over the past two years” and wished him well in his new “important role” in Healthy Ireland.

Deputy Buttimer said Breslin was an innovative and talented public servant, and was highly regarded by his management colleagues and staff.

“I am confident that he will do an excellent job in his work as Secretary General in the Department of Health.

“The role Breslin is taking on is by no means an easy one. A lot of challenges face the Department of Health and I know that together with the Minister for Health, Jim will work towards providing the highest standards of care.

“I look forward to working with Jim in my role as Chairperson of the Oireachtas Health Committee.”

As well as providing administrative leadership in the establishment of the DCYA newly created in July 2011, Breslin has also contributed to the major reform of legislation, policy and services that have been advanced in this area.

Breslin has considerable senior management experience across both Government departments and the health service. In his career to date he has worked previously in the Department of Health, the HSE, the then Eastern Regional Health Authority and the Department of Finance. He holds two masters degrees in public administration; one from the Institute of Public Administration/Trinity College Dublin and another from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

11 September 2014

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times