The former CEO of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Adrian Pennington.
The former CEO of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Adrian Pennington. Paul Donaldson BUN261116HOSP2

MP wants answers over sacking of regional health CEO

THE Health Minister remains tight-lipped as a local member of parliament seeks answers following the surprise sacking of the head of the region's hospital network.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services' chief executive officer Adrian Pennington was terminated from his position last Monday "effective immediately" by board chair Peta Jamieson.

While the reason behind the controversial firing is yet to be explained, Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen believes the Minister for Health Steven Miles should "come clean".

Mr Sorensen said his understanding was Mr Miles would have had to sign off on Mr Pennington's dismissal.

"If he had to sign off, he has to give reasons why and I believe it's up to the Minister to tell everyone what the reasons were," he said.

"I think the board should be made up of two people from each major hospital and the North Burnett (region) for the small hospitals. I think until that happens things could be a bit one-sided sometimes. We don't really have a member on the board in Hervey Bay and I think that is a disgrace."

When contacted for comment, a spokeswoman for the Minister for Health said "it would be inappropriate for (him) to comment further while these processes are under way".

The Chronicle understands a brief regarding the matter has not yet been received by the Minister's office, to allow time for HR processes which may include an appeal.

However Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders threw his support behind WBHHS saying he had full confidence in its ability to provide service for his electorate.

"It's business as usual, nothing has changed at all," he said.

A spokeswoman said the WBHHS would advertise widely for a new permanent chief executive in the near future.

"We understand the transition challenges that come with the departure of a chief executive, and our prime focus right now is on providing stability for our staff and continuing to provide great health care," the spokeswoman said.

An email from senior staff praising Mr Pennington's commitment to "patient-centred care" has revealed not all staff are on side with his dismissal.

An email from Bundaberg Hospital director of medical services Sue Page compares WBHHS before Mr Pennington took over in 2012 until now.

Dr Page said positive changes to the hospital service were not solely the work of one man, but "we also need to acknowledge that one man has made a difference that is nationally and internationally recognised".

Ms Jamieson confirmed the board also received a letter from Dr Page last week on behalf of senior doctors at Bundaberg Hospital, and a meeting was in the process of being arranged.