Derek Scanlon is the new head of St Christopher's Services in Longford town
Longford Chamber of Commerce President, Derek Scanlon has been appointed CEO of St Christopher’s Service in Longford town.
He takes over from Ballymahon native Pat O’Toole who retired last month after a distinguished career at the special needs facility.
Speaking to the Leader, Mr Scanlon said he was looking forward to taking up this full-time position which begins on August 14 next.
“This is a great challenge for me and nothing has resonated with me more than the amount of people who really care in Longford about St Christopher’s Services,” he added.
“I am very hopeful that I will do a good job in this role.”
Coming from a financial background with some medical experience, Mr Scanlon believes he has the skills and know-how to lead St Christopher’s into the next phase of its existence.
“I worked in a rather large hospital on the west coast of America for quite some time,” he said before pointing to the role in the transplant unit that he undertook there.
“That gave me a grounding in the whole medical field.”
More recently though, his career has brought him right into the areas of restructuring and reorganisation within the business sector and he says he has dealt with health bodies like HIQA and the HSE on many occasions.
“Obviously one of my roles in that area was to ensure that the appropriate care and attention was given to the clients during that period of restructuring,” continued Mr Scanlon.
“My role in insolvencies makes me adaptable; when you go in to take over a new business you have to learn, and I am willing to do that in this new role at St Christopher’s Services.
“There is nobody in any role that doesn't learn something new everyday.”
Meanwhile, Mr Scanlon also pointed to the “excellent” senior management team at St Christopher’s and their expertise in the whole area of special needs care.
“There is no doubt that many of those people will have more experience in this particular area than I do and I will rely on their lead in terms of what is required on the clinical care side,” the Longford Chamber of Commerce president added.
“But, what I will be championing is the services and the ability to be able to continue the excellent services that are provided by all of the staff at St Christopher’s.
“I also want to ensure that adequate funding is provided to ensure that we have those services in place and that they will continue.
“There will also be a focus on those services changing or adapting according to the users needs.”
One of the biggest challenges that faces St Christopher’s Services is funding.
Mr Scanlon says that while that challenge is very evident, so too are the competing demands that the HSE has to try and service.
“I would see my initial role and focus as one of developing a plan for the continuation of the service into the future,” he continued, before pointing out that primarily St Christopher’s wants to provide the services that already exist but also focus on expanding those services as well.
“I will also need to ensure that on the financial side, things are balancing out.”
He added, “Hopefully we will get to a point where we are not under so much pressure in terms of demands from the HSE to cut back on costs or services.
“I would like to have a more consensual approach by the HSE while at the same time providing the level of services that we want to provide.”