Search icon


10th May 2018

Cervical cancer scandal: HSE boss Tony O’Brien is stepping down

The news broke on Thursday evening.

The statement comes just days after O’Brien confirmed he would be staying in the position to focus on the cervical cancer issue.

In a statement released by the HSE on Thursday evening, it has been announced that the Director General Tony O’Brien would be stepping down from his position with almost immediate effect, with his last day being Friday 11 May.

Just four days earlier, O’Brien had stated that he would remain in the position until the start of July, saying that he would use the remainder of his time with the organisation to focus on the cervical cancer issue.

Then, two days later, the Taoiseach has once again backed HSE boss Tony O’Brien to see out his last eight weeks in the job, following calls by the Cabinet for O’Brien to resign.

The full statement via the HSE website is as follows:

The Director General (DG) of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, wishes to announce this evening (Thursday 10 May 2018) his intention to step down from his position as DG with effect from close of business tomorrow (Friday 11 May).

Mr. O’Brien said that he has made his decision in order to avoid any further impact to the delivery of health and social care services, and in particular the cancer screening services that have become the focus of intense political debate in recent days.

He said, notwithstanding the clear communication failures surrounding the CervicalCheck Audits, he is confident that the Scally Review will demonstrate the quality and value of the CervicalCheck Programme once it is complete.

Mr. O’Brien said that he looks forward to engaging with the Review and that he will co-operate fully with Professor Scally and his team in this work.

Mr O’Brien said he has been proud to lead the health services and the many staff who have worked tirelessly and with great dedication to provide health and social care services in a very challenging environment.

He emphasised that he remains deeply committed to health reform in Ireland and in particular the full implementation of the Slainte Care Report. He emphasised his fullest support for Minister Harris in this regard.