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Former Eircom chief to head up HSE
[Posted: Fri 28/05/2010 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
Cathal Magee has been appointed as the new CEO of the HSE, ending a long search for a successor to Prof Brendan Drumm.
Mr Magee is the former acting group CEO of Eircom Ltd. The appointment was confirmed today.
In his mid-fifties, Mr Magee has also previously worked for the National Australia Banking Group in the UK and Ireland. He has also worked in Bord na Mona.
His directorships include VHI Healthcare, the EBS Building Society and Tetra Ireland Communications.
Health Minister Mary Harney, welcoming the appointment, said Mr Magee brings a track record of top class management and organisational leadership to the health services.
Mr Magee left Eircom earlier this year, having served as acting CEO prior to the appointment of Paul Donovan from Vodaphone as permanent CEO.
Cathal Magee previously headed up Eircom's retail arm. He worked in the health service in the early part of his career.
He will be taking up the top job in the HSE in September.
Prof Drumm, who has been CEO for nearly five years, is due to step down from the post later this summer.
Earlier this year, Prof Tom Keane, former head of the National Cancer Control Programme, ruled himself out of the running for the top CEO job, having been tipped as a likely successor to Prof Drumm.
A leading Australian health administrator, Mike Reid, also ruled himself out of the running for the HSE CEO job earlier this year.
Prof Drumm is expected to return to clinical practice at Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin.
The new CEO's salary will be around the €320,000 mark and the appointment is for five years.
Mr Magee takes over the HSE at a crucial point and faces a mammoth task.
Among his challenges will be improving the "brand image" of the health executive, which is often justifiably seen in the public mind as over-centralised, bureaucratic, overstaffed administratively and unwieldy.
It has also been rocked by a number of hospital care scandals and has recently been embroiled in controversy over its delay in providing definitive figures on the numbers of children who died in its care.
The HSE is also beset with major industrial relations issues and budgetary shortage problems.
It is currently facing strong criticism over plans to close around 1,000 more hospital beds this year. Critics say it has yet to demonstrate that sufficient alternative avenues of care to these beds, such as community and day treatment services, have been put in place.
Prof Drumm has had a turbulent time as CEO since he took up the post in August 2005.
Brendan Drumm will be remembered as a well-meaning chief executive who did his best to "talk up" the health service. He will also be remembered as a CEO who received much media attention for his high salary and bonus payments.
His successor will be on a lower level of remuneration.
Prof Drumm certainly identified what needed to be reformed in an archaic, hierarchical and unwieldy system and did his best with the much vaunted "Transformation Process."
While some would say entrenched public service union attitudes and practices slowed down attempts at reform, health workers and their unions will point to a lack of engagement by Prof Drumm and his top managers with key people providing services on the ground. They feel they were ignored in the “Transformation Process”.
When it came to matching the brave new world of a fitter, leaner and properly resourced service with what many service users were experiencing in their day-to-day interactions with the HSE , Prof Drumm's dream, in spite of some slow progress made, seldom matched the reality.
Mr Magee will certainly have to hit the ground running when he assumes office in September.
The Health Minister said Mr Magee has shown total commitment to people and team building in his management roles throughout his career.
"I have no doubt that this will be of great benefit to the combined clinical and management leadership of the HSE."
The Chairman of the HSE Board, Liam Downey, said the Board was very pleased to have attracted a highly experienced professional for the position of CEO.
"Cathal Magee has an extensive record of implementing change and performance improvement in a number of organisations and different environments. He has worked in both the public and private sectors and demonstrated a high level of achievement and successful engagement with a wide range of interests and stakeholders.”
(View a recent irishhealth.com interview with Brendan Drumm here)
|hell Posted: 28/05/2010 19:32|
I wish him luck he has his work cut out he really has being from a business background he will look at things from an economical point of view. If he chooses his advisors carefully, moving to fresh young motivated advisors keeping clear of the old boys club he could pull it off. I work in a small hospital as a midwife have always been generous with my time and have worked hard and faithfully full time since 1975 . I have always been careful with my employers equipment and have been loyal to the organisation as indeed so many of my peers are too. I was so disappointed at how this was recognised as of late charging us One Euro per coffee, 90 cent for a cup of tea at our morning break-it is cheaper from the vending machine .This kind of treatment does not inspire anyone .I always thought loyality and good behavour should be rewarded I have found in my dealings with people the word of encouragment praise motivates people criticism doesn't-win loyality neither does scrooging .
|John Williams Posted: 31/05/2010 20:47|
I too wish him luck but I am sceptical if luck is enough. He comes from an Eircom background which makes one wonder what makes that a good training ground for running a health service. He was chosen by Mary Harney which makes his choice tainted. Taking these two points; I have no doubt that he would make a good CEO of a commercial company. But....the health service is not a commercial organisation. It is a social service to cure sick people and to prevent illness if possible. It takes a different type of individual to run such a service, one who has empathy with the ill.
|JamesH Posted: 01/06/2010 09:59|
John, While I understand what you are saying, it is also true to say that the health service is analygous to one of our biggest businesses in that it has a turnover of 15billion and 100,000 employees. The hospitals are riddled with inefficiencies and exorbitant pay structures that are structured around a 9-5 5-day week, despite a hospital being a 24/7 operation. Perhaps a good business head is needed to get the best use of the taxpayers money. We have had 5 years of a doctor in charge.
|Bruised Posted: 04/06/2010 22:21|
I also wish him luck, He will need it!
However, I have some serious doubts about him. He comes recommended a former CSE of the HSE. That sounds like the kiss of death. All CSEs have, so far, drawn large salaries with little to show for it. Mr Drumm even got a bonus! For what aside from giving some spin material to Mary Harney?
|docg Posted: 05/06/2010 19:51|
Difficult to see what there was in his C.V. that persuaded his employers!
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