Dentist becomes secretary general

Dr Ambrose McLoughlin replaces Michael Scnlan in a “surprising” appointment”

A former dentist has been appointed as the new secretary general in the Department of Health.

Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, who most recently held the post of chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), replaces Michael Scanlan who retired recently after seven years in the position.

The Irish Times, among other news outlets, have reported that there was “considerable surprise” among senior civil servants in the Department of Health at the appointment of an “outsider” to the position in spite of a number of internal applicants.

However, Health Minister Dr James Reilly welcomed the announcement by saying: “The appointment of Ambrose McLoughlin will have an invigorating effect on the Department of Health. In the last year as Minister I have had the privilege of getting to know closely the very hard working, committed individuals at the top of the civil service.

“I know they, like me, will welcome an injection of new blood, fresh thinking and new energy from outside as we move to introduce reforms and tackle the many problems faced in the area of health. I would like to pay a tribute to Mr Michael Scanlan whose work as secretary general was exemplary. I would also like to pay a tribute to the other excellent candidates who applied for the secretary general position.”

Dr McLoughlin has more than 30 years’ experience in the health service. Graduating BDS from Dublin in 1974 he worked as a house surgeon at the Dublin Dental Hospital until 1977, when he was appointed health board surgeon at the Midland Health Board. In 1980 he took on the role of chief dental officer for the Mid-Western Health Board until 1990 when he was hired as programme manager community care at the North Eastern Health Board (NEHB). He was then appointed deputy CEO (1995) and then CEO (2000) of the NEHB before taking on his previous position at the PSI in 2004.