He may not be a household name like his predecessor Paul Reid, whose profile has skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, new HSE chief Bernard Gloster is known in the healthcare sector as someone who has held a variety of positions over the past 30 years.
The social worker (56), who lives in Limerick and commutes to Dublin, has been the managing director of Tusla, the children and family agency, since 2019.
Mr Gloster will be well paid in his new role – the salary is €367,000 but this time he will not get a car or a car allowance. His current salary as Tusla boss is 186,000 euros.
Much of the power will be taken from his hands when decision-making is returned to the regions, the modern-day reincarnation of the ancient health authorities where he began his career.
He will take up his new position in the spring and it is hoped that the work on drawing up the organization chart will then go well. Mr Gloster will oversee the management of six new regional agencies, which will be given delegated powers from the central HSE executive.
If that sounds relatively simple, its mandate will be to bring hospitals and community services under one regional umbrella, managing any tensions between the two sides over budgets and autonomy.
By the time he starts, the winter turmoil affecting healthcare – compounded this year by the resurgence of seasonal viruses along with Covid – should have subsided. However, HSE is never far from a crisis.
Tusla will have many more challenges ahead, but he’s got it on track
One of his previous posts in the organization was as Chief Executive of HSE’s Mid West Community Healthcare so he should be well aware of what is required as more investment is made in care outside of overburdened hospitals. He will also be responsible for delivering the comprehensive Sláintecare agenda.
Over the years, Mr. Gloster earned an MBA from Oxford Brookes University and an MSc in Management Practice from University College Cork.
As Tusla boss, Mr Gloster had to read a report from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) earlier this year which found planning for children who were at significant risk in their own homes was being delayed.
This meant a number of children were in “unsafe situations” for long periods of time.
There was an increase in children waiting for an assigned social worker as Tusla, like the HSE, had serious staff recruitment problems.
However, Tanya Ward, the chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, welcomed Mr Gloster’s appointment.
She said he took on the role of Tusla’s chief executive at a difficult time for the agency.
A great communicator, he has worked hard to engage civil society and groups working with children, youth and families
“In that short time, he has transformed Tusla, significantly improved service delivery, encouraged innovation, boosted employee morale and helped change the direction of the organization,” said Ms. Ward.
“What has always been clear is his commitment to the people Tusla served – children, youth and families.
His leadership of Tusla through the tumultuous years of the pandemic has been outstanding.
“A great communicator and relationship builder, he has worked hard to engage civil society and groups working with children, youth and families.
“Tusla will have many more challenges ahead, but he is on the right track.”
Finding enough staff, from hospital specialists to speech therapists, will be one of the major hurdles Mr. Gloster will face in his new role.
However, he will benefit from a new employment contract for hospital consultants, which is expected to lead to more filling of vacancies.
When he left the HSE, underfunding continued to hamper progress.
Now about €70m of the €200m Access to Care fund to tackle hospital waiting lists will go unused, despite 900,000 people queuing in some form.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/bernard-gloster-in-profile-new-hse-boss-faces-plenty-of-hurdles-but-salary-almost-doubles-to-367k-42226159.html Bernard Gloster in profile: New HSE boss faces many hurdles, but salary almost doubles to 367,000 euros