Harris announces 23-strong council to drive health reform

Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council features people from many backgrounds

Minister for Health Simon Harris and Laura Magahy, executive director of the Slaintecare Programme Office. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin

Minister for Health Simon Harris and Laura Magahy, executive director of the Slaintecare Programme Office. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin


The 23-strong membership of the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council, tasked with driving reform of the health service, has been announced by Minister for Health Simon Harris.

The group is made up of people from a range of backgrounds, including a number of medical professionals, experts and patient advocates.

The council is appointed for a term of three years, and will meet between two and four times per annum.

“The advisory council will provide advice and support to the Sláintecare Programme Office on the delivery of the Sláintecare implementation strategy,” said Mr Harris.

“I am delighted that we have been able to appoint a diverse group of people with a breath of experience and expertise in healthcare, governance, change management and leadership.

“The council combines patient/service user representatives, senior health service leaders, clinical leadership, and a number of independent change experts from outside the health service who will bring expertise and an independent perspective.

“I wish the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council well and look forward to working with it in delivering fundamental change to the Irish health system.”

Radiation oncologist

The group is chaired by consultant radiation oncologist Dr Tom Keane, while Laura Magahy, who has led a number of the State’s most high profile projects including the €1 billion urban renewal of Temple Bar, is the executive director.

Other members include consultant geriatrician Dr Siobhán Kennelly; consultant gastroenterologist Dr Anthony O’Connor; group clinical director for the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland Hospitals Group Prof Patrick Broe; interim chief clinical officer of the HSE Dr Colm Henry; International Council of Nurses president Annette Kennedy; general practitioner Dr Ronan Fawsitt; and Jigsaw director of clinical governance Gillian O’Brien.

Roisin Molloy, who was featured in an RTÉ Prime Time Investigates programme called Fatal Failures in 2014 following a “systems failure” in the health service that led to the death of her son two years earlier, is also on the panel.

She is joined by Brendan Courtney, who appeared in the RTÉ documentary We Need to Talk About Dad, which focused on the choices faced by the Courtney family in trying to provide the best care possible for Frank Courtney after he had a stroke.

The remaining members are Asthma Society of Ireland CEO Sarah O’Connor; Beacon Hospital deputy CEO Brian Fitzgerald; former general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Liam Doran; Royal College of Physicians of Ireland CEO Leo Kearns; European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies director Josep Figueras; Primary Care Transformation Experts CEO Joanne Shear; clinical teaching fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews Heather Shearer; honorary consul for Barbados in Ireland Dr Eddie Molloy; Fingal County Council chief executive Paul Reid; consultant obstetrician Prof Mary Higgins; GP Anna McHugh; and Irish Association of Emergency Medicine president Dr Emily O’Conor.