Press Release

Statement from the Minister for Health on the designation of Mr. John Connaghan to fill the role of Director General of the HSE

The Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced that John Connaghan will carry out the role of Director General of the HSE following the decision of the former Director General, Mr. Tony O’Brien, yesterday evening to step down. This is pending a recruitment process by the Public Appointments Service.

Minister Harris stated “I have now designated John Connaghan to carry out the functions of the Director General of the HSE pending a recruitment process which is to be conducted by the Public Appointments Service. John brings a wealth of senior healthcare management experience at an international level. He will be a tremendous resource in leading the HSE in challenging times. I want to thank John for taking on this interim role.”

Mr Connaghan joined the HSE last August as the Deputy Director General and Chief Operating Officer having previously worked for NHS Scotland.


Notes for Editors

Biography – John Connaghan

Mr John Connaghan joined the HSE as Deputy Director General and Chief Operating Officer in August 2017. In this role, he has responsibility for operational services. This covers seven Acute Hospitals Group Chief Executives and nine Community Health Organisation Chief Officers (incorporating Community, Social and Primary Care).

Mr Connaghan has over 30 years’ experience of both the private and public sector.

He joined the Scottish health service in 2006 as Director of NHS Delivery – with the remit to improve overall NHS performance. During his NHS career in Scotland, John held three different Chief Executive positions with responsibility for some of the largest teaching hospitals in Scotland. This included some time spent as interim Director General and Chief Executive of NHS Scotland. This role included taking on accountable officer status for a budget of £12.5bn and for 156,000 staff.

His experience in the NHS has included formulating acute services strategy at local and national level and chairing National Boards for efficiency, productivity, e-health and the modernisation of outpatient services. John’s current interests extend to ‘Flow Process’ across the whole health system, shifting the balance of care from acute services to the community – demonstrating how transformational leadership can be used to support staff and patient interests in times of change.

Mr Connaghan was also one of the founding directors for the Maggies centres (cancer charity), now one of the UK’s biggest cancer charities. He served on the Board of the charity for a period of ten years as a non-executive director.