Top role in limbo

HEALTH Minister Michael Ferguson has confirmed that former Royal Hobart Hospital boss Jane Holden has been returned to a job that no longer exists.

Ms Holden was removed from her position as acting chief executive of Tasmanian Health Organisation South on Friday, after the governing council advised the government that it had lost confidence in her ability to do her job.

Mr Ferguson said Ms Holden had reverted to her  position as chief executive of the Southern Tasmanian Area Health Service - an organisation that was disbanded two years ago.

Mr Ferguson said that Ms Holden had signed a five-year contract as STAHS chief executive in March 2012, just four months before it was folded into THO South.

``So now we are stuck with that,'' he said.

``I'm taking advice on how to handle this, and I can assure Tasmanians that we will protect their interests through this process.''

 The Examiner  last year reported that Ms Holden was on a salary of more than $346,000.

Mr Ferguson said there had been no changes at THO North-West, but he avoided answering whether he had any concerns regarding chief executive Gavin Austin. 

Mr Ferguson said he agreed that THO South was ``probably'' wasting money by hiring an external public relations firm.

``I'm not altogether happy about that,'' he  said.

``These are quite clearly decisions of the THO and the governing council, they're not a decision of the government -  it's not even something that we've been aware of.''

Mr Ferguson said he would reveal more information around leadership changes during Parliament this week.

A Tasmanian Labor spokesman said Ms Holden was signed on to the acting chief executive role of THO South two years ago ``on the basis of her ongoing and existing role in the public service''.

``Mr Ferguson would know that this was entirely procedural,'' the spokesman said.

``Mr Ferguson is now responsible for health and he cannot continue to deliberately confuse Tasmanians to delay making decisions.''

Email jstephens@examiner.com.au or twitter @jodiestephens1 

Jane Holden

Jane Holden

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