Former chief executive officer at Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Adrian Pennington.
Former chief executive officer at Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Adrian Pennington.

MP's shocking theory on why Adrian Pennington was sacked

BURNETT MP Stephen Bennett has aired concerns the sacking of former Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Adrian Pennington could be a political smokescreen.

Mr Bennett said he believed the sacking of Mr Pennington was in part related to the new Level 5 Hospital.

Mr Pennington's position was terminated by board chair Peta Jamieson in September.

"I believe this is about the Level 5 Tertiary Hospital in as much as Adrian Pennington was the driver, he owned the project, he had the capacity and the knowledge to get this built," Mr Bennett said.

"I suspect the government, being absolutely broke, are looking for ways to deflect - not to commit to the hospital.

"They will do some renovations in Bundaberg, they will do some things in Maryborough.

"My biggest fear is this is a politically-motivated smokescreen to remove Adrian Pennington from the process and allow the Tertiary Hospital issue to fade away."

He believed there were still major issues after receiving a response to a petition submitted in parliament.

Mr Bennett's petition calls for the immediate reinstatement of Mr Pennington to his position as CEO.

In his required response, Health Minister Stephen Miles said it would not be appropriate to comment on the matter while the appropriate process was underway.

"The response to our petition has come back, and still no answers and still our community is left in limbo while the bureaucracy seems to run amok and the politics of this continue to muddy the waters," Mr Bennett said.

"To me, it appears that there's huge issues with the decisions that have been made."

He said the response from Mr Miles was "clearly a diversionary delay tactic" and said if the correct procedures were followed, a decision would already have been made one way or the other.

"I would suspect that there's a lot of muddied waters, a lot of mistakes would appear to have been made," Mr Bennett said.

He said the only acceptable response would be the reinstatement of Mr Pennington to his former position.

"The longer this sorry, sordid tale continues, remember the health services are the ones that are suffering," he said.

"Every executive, every patient - and in particular the chief executive himself - must be wondering every day 'What's next in line for me?'."

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Stephen Miles said it would be inappropriate for the Minister to comment on this matter while the process was underway.

Ms Jamieson has previously said that the decision to terminate Mr Pennington was very carefully considered and not made lightly. Last month she said she was unable to comment further on the HR process while it was still under way, for privacy and confidentiality reasons.