Hospital group chairman failed to disclose shareholding

Media inquiry led to HSE learning of issues arising from review of maternity services

Noel Daly: owned 50% of D&F Health Partnership, the consultancy  which carried  out a controversial review of maternity services in the west and northwest.

Noel Daly: owned 50% of D&F Health Partnership, the consultancy which carried out a controversial review of maternity services in the west and northwest.

Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 01:02

The former chairman of the West/North West Hospital Group failed to disclose his 50 per cent shareholding in a consultancy that was commissioned to carry out a review of maternity services in the region, Minister for Health James Reilly has told the Dáil. The Health Service Executive only learned of alleged conflict of interest issues in relation to the review from a media query, it has also emerged.

Businessman Noel Daly resigned as chairman of the group earlier this month after it emerged that he owned 50 per cent of D&F Health Partnership, the consultancy carrying out a controversial review of maternity services in the west and northwest.

Dr Reilly said his department and the HSE first became aware that an issue has arisen from a media query last May 19th. Some days earlier, The Irish Times had reported that the consultancy report recommended major cuts to maternity services in the west and northwest. The HSE instructed its internal audit unit to investigate the matter, Dr Reilly told Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher in an answer to a Dáil question.

The audit was assured by group chief executive Bill Maher that he made the decision to engage D&F Health Partnership and Mr Daly had no role in this. The investigation found that while Mr Daly had disclosed to the board that he was a former employee and director of the consultancy, he failed to disclose that he continued to hold a 50 per cent shareholding. It was also established that the procurement of services was not in accordance with HSE regulations.

After being presented with the results of the audit, HSE director general Tony O’Brien wrote to Mr Daly and Bill Maher to make clear that any further breaches of procurement would be unacceptable and that Mr Daly should have told board members of his stakeholding.

On Monday, the group board held an extraordinary meeting, at which Dr John Killeen was appointed interim chairman pending the appointment of a new chair by Dr Reilly.