Health Minister Defends Her Position

The Health Minister has been defending her position after Constable Andy Jehan took aim at her leadership when he resigned at the weekend.

Constable Jehan quit as Assistant Chief Minister at the weekend, principally over the cost of the Health Advisory Board and the Ministers' decision to extend the appointment of its Interim Chair.

He wrote in his resignation letter that the government has paid 'in excess' of £250,000 to Professor Hugo Mascie-Taylor in the past year and spent £73,000 on a recruitment agency to fill positions on the advisory board.

He called it an 'indefensible misuse of taxpayers' money', and said an 'excellent candidate' for the permanent position had been overlooked

Deputy Karen Wilson insists they didn't meet all the requirements and that she has done the right thing:

"What I am not prepared to do is to leave the board at risk and for it not to be able to function.  We have had a huge positive response to the board and its presence.  Islanders have welcomed its openness and transparency, and the ability to come and talk to the chair."

The board was set up to oversee improvements in the health service after a damning report published in August 2022 exposed numerous failings.

"One of the things I want to assure islanders is that the board will provide effective stewardship and oversight and provide advice to me about the key concerns and issues that the health service is facing and what to do about them."

We have got to invest in our health service in a way that makes people feel as though it is being properly governed and managed."

Constable Jehan's concerns went further, to include the minister's 'reluctance to publicly endorse the plans for the New Hospital facilities'.

Deputy Wilson told Channel 103:

"I think I have been very clear. I am fully supportive of our plan for developing new healthcare facilities in the island.  The way in which we deliver that is clearly the detail around how the clinicians work, and that is for them to decide."

Constable Jehan's departure prompted a mini reshuffle, and External Relations Minister Deputy Philip Ozouf has been appointed Assistant Health Minister alongside Deputy Wilson.

She says she welcomes her new colleague:

"Given his focus on external relations... he is going to support and advise me on the work that we need to do to build those strategic relationships across our partners, in relation to Guernsey  - the work we are wanting to do with Guernsey - and the wider partnerships around Health."

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