NHS doctor Professor Aidan Halligan dies aged 57
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NHS doctor Professor Aidan Halligan dies aged 57

THE Irishman who famously turned down the top job with Ireland's health service to work with the NHS has died, aged 57.

Professor Aidan Halligan, who was once in the running for the top job with the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland, passed away at his home in England on Monday.

The Trinity College Dublin graduate was the former deputy chief medical officer for England and, more recently, worked as the director of Well North, a Public Health England initiative in Yorkshire.

Prof Halligan was be remembered for his many achievements in the medical industry – as well as famously turning down the offer to become the HSE’s first ever CEO in 2004.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England and Chair for Well North, said: “Aidan was my friend and teacher as he was to so many. His humanity, warmth and compassion for others, and always for those most vulnerable, was unsurpassed and we will all miss him terribly. So very sad for everyone and especially for his family that he loved so very much.”

Qualifying in medicine in 1984, Prof Halligan specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology, before entering the world of academia and taking up a position as a professor in foetal and maternal medicine in Leicester.

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Joining the NHS, he worked in several positions including the job of deputy chief medical office for England.

He was also principal of the NHS Staff College, which develops leadership skills across the health service, and Chairman of Pathway, a charity that has created health services for the homeless within the NHS.

A committed and highly professional individual, Prof Halligan was a passionate advocate for equity in the health service and a popular and gifted speaker at medical conferences in Ireland.

Just late last year he delivered the 2014 annual IMO Doolin Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Rediscovering Lost Values’.

Prof Halligan was the brother of TV3’s current political editor, Ursula Halligan.