Ex-junior health minister named new chief of Private Hospitals Association

Jim Daly taking up role at ’challenging and exciting time’ in Irish healthcare sector

Former Fine Gael minister of state for health Jim Daly has been appointed chief executive of the Private Hospitals Association (PHA).

Mr Daly, who retired from national politics just over two years ago in January 2020, served as Fine Gael TD for Cork South West between 2011 and 2020 and was minister of state at the Department of Health between 2017 and 2020.

In a statement from the PHA announcing the appointment, Mr Daly said he was honoured and excited to have been appointed to the new role.

“This is both an exciting yet challenging time in the Irish healthcare sector after emerging from one of the most seismic periods in our country’s history post Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

“We are at an important transition point in the delivery of healthcare reform in this country, yet the experience of the past two years has seen unprecedented levels of collaboration with the State and private hospitals, with very constructive engagement occurring on all sides. This bodes well for the future and I very much look forward to playing my part in progressing that agenda of positivity over the months and years ahead.”

Mr Daly will represent the PHA’s interests with a range of key stakeholders including government, the HSE, regulators, health insurers and the wider health sector, the statement said.

His tasks as chief executive will involve working with PHA members “in progressing key strategic objectives including building on the emerging relationship between private hospitals and the wider health sector and developing a new Strategic Partnership between the Department of Health/HSE and private hospitals on a multi-annual basis to help tackle the national waiting lists problem”, the statement said.

PHA chairman Bill Maher, welcoming the appointment, said: "Playing a critical role in healthcare delivery nationally as PHA does, means Jim will be a leading voice within the sector and helping shape the agenda going forward."

Covid-19 has brought about new ways of working between public and private “and we have shown how a joined-up approach can work in helping defeat the virus”, Mr Maher said.

“We now need to apply that partnership approach and ‘can-do’ mindset to the pervasive problem of hospital waiting lists and take steps to halt their further growth.”

The PHA’s network of 18 private hospitals are key to the delivery of acute and mental health services around the country, he said. “We conduct 300,000 theatre procedures annually and offer over 750,000 bed nights to the Irish healthcare system. We have shown in the past that we have the capacity to make substantial inroads into waiting lists when called upon and we can rise to the challenge once again.”

Under the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015, former ministers, ministers of state, special advisers and prescribed public servants are subject, unless they have permission from the Standards in Public Office Commission, to a cooling off period of one year after they have left office or employment in relation to lobbying activities in specific circumstances. Because Mr Daly retired in January 2020, he is not affected by the provision.

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