Jane Holden complaints 'festering sores' court hears

Jane Holden

Jane Holden

The state’s former Department of Health and Human Services secretary has recalled instances in which former Tasmanian Health Organisation South chief executive Jane Holden was the subject of off-the-record complaints from senior members of clinical staff within the health sector. 

Matthew Daly was appointed DHHS state secretary in 2012 and became acting THO South acting chief executive in May 2014, following a decision to have Ms Holden removed from her role. 

He said there had been about six months of observations before governing council chair Graeme Houghton expressed the need for a meeting with Ms Holden.

Mr Daly said Ms Holden had always shown him respect, however, complaints from members of staff, including allegations of bullying, had persisted like “festering sores”. 

“There was no abating of complaints from members of senior staff who had a higher level of contact with [Ms Holden],” Mr Daly said. 

“There was a clear disengagement with senior clinicians.” 

Mr Daly said when THO South was formed the line of management had been altered to give the governing council responsibility for holding Ms Holden accountable in her role.  

He said he had not been privy to the deliberations or decision making process of the governing council when they decided to withdraw support for Ms Holden.

“It was not until after they’d made that decision that they wanted to engage with me about management of [the Royal Hobart Hospital],” Mr Daly said.

“The factors behind the governing council’s conclusions to remove the recommendation and confidence in [Ms Holden’s] appointment were around financial management.” 

Ms Holden is suing the state government for unfair dismissal and has sought compensation of up to $2.2 million. 

THO South governing council members Suzanne Baker and Lyn Cox are due to give evidence on Friday.