HSE chief to step down in December

The HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid has announced that he will be stepping down from his position later this year.

His announcement comes just a day after he said plans to reconfigure the Emergency Department at Our Lady's Hospital Navan will proceed, despite a request from Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to put them on hold.

Mr Reid said he will step down in December, saying he has no immediate career plans.

He said that he was making the decision with a heavy heart, and that it was the hardest decision he had ever made in relation to his own career.

Mr Reid said his decision was influenced by a desire to spend more time with his family, and a "belief that the HSE was entering a new phase and that the appointment of a new leader was now timely".

"Working in the HSE has been by far the greatest period in my career," Mr Reid said."No organisation will ever match the commitment, dedication and relentless willingness to go beyond the call of duty that I have witnessed," he added.

Yesterday (Sunday), Mr Reid had said plans to reconfigure the Emergency Department at Our Lady's Hospital Navan will proceed.

He said on RTE's this week, that "it would be a mistake" for the minister to use his powers under Section 10 of the Health Act to direct the Health Service Executive to call a halt to its plans.

The chairman of the Save Navan Hospital campaign described Mr Reid's remarks as “stunning.”

“I have never heard a senior Public Servant openly rebuke and undermine his line Minister live on radio before. It is stunning that one the highest  paid public servants would openly brief against his Minister so publicly. The whole idea of a public servant is that they implement the will of the democratically elected Minister,” Deputy Toibin said.

“What we are seeing here is an inversion of the democratic process. This is not the first time either. Two weeks ago the Minister organised a meeting between the HSE and the elected representatives of Meath. The meeting was billed by the Minister as a discussion on the future of the hospital A&E and that no decision was made on the A&E. Yet before we left the meeting the HSE had issued a statement saying that the A&E would lose on the 30th of June. This statement was then retracted by the HSE shortly afterwards.

“Paul Reid is presiding over the worst A&E waiting times on record. He is presiding over the worst hospital waiting lists ever and GP appointments are as rare as hen’s teeth. If he proceeds with closure, 25,000 people in Meath will be forced to attend an already jointed A&E in Drogheda which has 12 hour waiting times. “This in a county where the population is nearly a quarter of a million people and is growing by 5,000 people each year.

“A&E overcrowding is a threat to health. According to the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine 350 people die each year in Ireland due to hospital overcrowding. We in Meath will not accept this. We will bring tens of thousands of people onto the streets of Meath on July the 9th. We will have a public meeting to organise that march this Thursday This is a life and death issue and its too important.

“Paul Reid said similar decisions have been accepted in other counties. Tipperary, Limerick and Clare would disagree. There are no FG or FF TDs in Roscommon”.