A key figure in the ill-fated ‘Bertie Bowl’ who has been chosen to drive forward the plan to overhaul the health service will earn more than €777,100 during her five-year term.
Laura Magahy, who was a leading light in the Celtic Tiger era, is to be appointed executive director of the programme office to oversee Sláintecare, the 10-year blueprint for changing the health service.
She will earn the annual salary of a department deputy secretary general, which is €155,435 with no bonuses.
Professor Tom Keane, the Dublin-born former ‘cancer tsar’ who is based in Canada, will take on the role of chair of the Sláintecare advisory council. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said he would perform the role for no fee and would only claim his expenses relating to travel and accommodation.
Prof Keane was instrumental in reorganising cancer services into eight centres a decade ago which has had the effect of significantly improving the care of patients.
The cross-party Sláintecare plan envisages 10 years of reform of the health service, transforming it from a mix of public and private care into “an affordable, universal, single-tier healthcare system, in which patients are treated promptly on the basis of need, rather than ability to pay”.
One of its aims is to provide everyone with free GP care and remove private practice from public hospitals.
However, it will cost an additional €2.86bn over 10 years – a figure that hospital consultants say is a major underestimate.
The Government has yet to produce its implementation plan and it is understood there are serious concerns in the Department of Public Expenditure about the cost implications.
Ms Magahy is a former director of Temple Bar Properties and former project manager of the Irish Film Institute.
She also led the project to relocate Temple Street Children’s Hospital to the Mater Hospital site.
She had a lucrative contract to provide executive services for the so-called ‘Bertie Bowl’ – named after former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern – and Sports Campus Ireland at Abbotstown.
It was to be a huge sports campus but despite €43m being spent, it was never built as the recession intervened.
Ms Magahy will take up the position in September and a recruitment process for the Sláintecare Programme Office team will begin shortly.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “Laura and Tom bring a wealth of experience and expertise to these roles. The next decade will see a period of significant investment and reform in our health services.”