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Tony Haughey: Dedicated nurse first man to hold top role

Former nurse Michael Anthony (Tony) Haughey, who was Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) in the Department of Health and Social Services for nine years, has died aged 78.

Mr Haughey took up the senior post in his native Northern Ireland in 1987, when the province was emerging from the worst years of civil unrest and at a time of great change in both the health service and in the nursing and midwifery professions.

He was the first male nurse in the UK to hold the position of CNO at Government level, rising to the top after training as a mental health nurse at St Luke's Hospital in Armagh in 1954 and then moving as a general nurse to Belfast City Hospital.

In 1959 he and new wife Anne set up home in Warrington, where he became night superintendent at the John Bagot Hospital, after which he held senior posts in Manchester and in Wales and Scotland before they returned home.

All his working life – he retired in 1996, the year he was awarded a CBE – Tony had ambitions for the development of nursing and midwifery services and he believed in the capacity of personnel to deliver a wider range of clinical services. To this end, he developed the policy frameworks that led to a number of specialist nursing roles.

He is survived by Anne, his wife of 54 years, with whom he had eight children: Colm, Cathy, Fiona, Anthony, Paschal, Sharon, Deirdre and Orlagh.

He was buried in St Patrick's Cemetery, Ballymacnab, in the townland of his birth in Co Armagh after Requiem Mass at St Peter's Church in Lurgan.

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