New chairman of HSE appointed by Government

British Council chief Ciarán Devane will head up new board overseeing health executive’s operations

The Government has appointed Ciarán Devane as the new chairman of the Health Service Executive (HSE). He is chief executive of the British Council and former head of UK health charity Macmillan Cancer Support .

He was also a former member of the board of NHS (National Health Service) England.

The Department of Health said the appointment followed a campaign by the Public Appointments Service to identify potential candidates.

The Government decided last year to re-introduce a board to oversee the operations of the HSE.


The Department of Health said the early tasks for the new chairman would be to participate in the selection process for the new HSE chief executive which was currently underway.

It said he would also take part in the process to identify other members of the new HSE board.

The Department of Health said the move on Tuesday represented “another important step in the implementation of a key Sláintecare recommendation”. Sláintecare is the Government’s ten year plan for the health service.

It said priority issues for the new HSE board would include:

* delivering effective and safe services within the resources allocated

* developing and implementing an effective performance management and accountability system in the HSE

* developing a plan for building public trust and confidence in the HSE and the wider health service

* ensuring the HSE’s full support for and implementation of the Government’s programme of health reform as will be set out in the Sláintecare Implementation Plan

The Department of Health said the British Council, of which Mr Devane was chief executive, was a £1.2bn public body with 12,000 staff in 115 countries.

It said he was a member of the board of NHS England from 2012 -2015.

“He was chief executive of the UK health charity, Macmillan Cancer Support. He was knighted for his services to cancer patients. “

The legislation for a board governance structure is currently being drafted. “This legislation is on the Government’s priority list of Bills and, working with members of Oireachtas, the Minister for Heath intends to bring the legislation through both Houses by the end of 2018. Under the new legislation, the Board will be the governing body of the HSE and will be accountable to the Minister for the performance of its functions and the CEO will be accountable to the Board.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent