Mr. John O’Brien


Adviser to the Group CEO and Chair of the Ireland East Hospital Group

John has extensive experience in health and hospital management both Nationally and Internationally covering some 40 years. He is a past Chief Executive of St. James’s Hospital, the largest Academic Hospital in Ireland. He also held the position of National Director of the National Hospitals Office at the Health Service Executive, where he was responsible for the entire public sector acute system.

John has led and executed a large range of special interest initiatives in the health sector covering areas such as information systems, strategy planning, commissioning of major health enterprises, corporate governance and executive systems design and largescale organisation reconfiguration and change. He has also participated as a member of a number of Ministerial/Department of Health sponsored policy review groups including steering panels for the Value for Money Review of the Health System (Deloitte & Touche) and the Audit of Structures and Functions in the Health System (Prospectus), which report formed the basis for a major reform of Irish health services.

John holds graduate qualifications in Economics, Political Science and Health Management and a 1st Class Honours Master’s degree in Public Administration. He has also held Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor positions in Health Policy and Management at the University of Dublin, Trinity College. John has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland and a member of the Irish Statistical and Social Enquiry Society. He has been seminally involved in and contributed extensively to the development of Trinity Health Ireland, the Academic Medical Centre comprising Trinity College Dublin and St. James’s and Tallaght Hospitals.

In the area of quality, John has acted as Project Director of the national initiative established to develop an accreditation scheme for the Irish health system. Up to 2004, he held the position of Transitional Executive Head of the Irish Health Services Accreditation Board (IHSAB), the Statutory Body established to, inter alia, administer this scheme. He was appointed Surveyor as part of the first wave initiative in this area and has led and participated on surveys in major academic and large group hospital and health systems both in and out of Ireland (including Canada, South East Asia, Australia etc.). He has also devised and overseen implementation of extensive quality programmes at St. James’s Hospital.

Since 2009, John has been variously engaged in a variety of undertakings. He held advisory and mentoring roles with three major multi-nationals operating in the Irish health sector for a number of years. He also provided the executive input necessary to establish and incorporate the Irish Academy of Medical Sciences, and held the position of Company Secretary of that organisation for a period. In addition, he has led and undertaken a range of specific purpose reviews of management, governance and operations in a number of health service organisations. He was, up to recently, vice-chairman of a not-for-profit European company operating in the health information and communications technology area. He further held a role as Strategic Adviser to the CEO and Chairman of a major Academic Teaching Hospital, while continuing to provide programme management support to the Trinity Health Ireland project.

He currently holds the positions of Adviser to the Group CEO and Chair of the Ireland East Hospital Group and VP Health Affairs at UCD. He also provides support to the Group CEO of Children’s Health Ireland. He is a non-executive member and Chair of the Board of Health Care Informed.

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