Director General of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, has announced that he does not wish to renew his term of office beyond the end of summer 2018, at which point his current contract expires.
Mr O'Brien said he made the decision last summer and was making the announcement today to allow for the recruitment process for a successor and "to enable a smooth transition".
He formally informed Simon Harris, the Minister for Health, of his decision last week.
A video addressing HSE staff was released today where Mr O'Brien outlined the reasons behind his decision.
He told the staff it had been a " unique privilege" to lead the HSE.
Mr O’Brien has been in charge for six years having been announced as the head of the HSE in 2012. He previously led a special unit charged with reducing hospital trolley numbers and waiting lists over.
In his video address, Mr O'Brien said: "In that six years, which have been some of the most difficult years for the Irish health service, particularly the earlier years, we've achieved so much together and I want to thank you for that."
"I will be continuing as Director General until the summer of this year. Business as usual, working with you to deliver the greatest range and quality of services that we can. And to implement the 2018 plan."
He added that "for me and for the HSE, renewal is important.
"And for a variety of reasons, not least the new policy context that we've secured, I believe that now is the right time for this change."
Mr O'Brien also revealed to staff how he has publicly argued that the health system “is the wrong shape and size” to enable those of us working in it to meet the growing needs of the population.
He described how this has contributed in no small way to many of the challenges we face today including ED overcrowding and gaining access to many of our services.
The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said: “While it will be some months before Tony O’Brien leaves his role as the Director General of the HSE, I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his leadership of the organisation for the past six years and his strong commitment to health reform.
"The DG will remain in his role until the end of the summer and I have been assured that his focus over the coming months will be on continuing his important work.
"The position of Director General of the HSE is a vital one, and this lead-in time will allow the recruitment process to now commence, so that it can be filled in a timely manner.”
- Digital Desk