Sun, Jan 04, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Group opposes new hospital appointee

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Taipei Veterans General Hospital superintendent Lo Kwang-juei, right, and former chief of the hospital’s surgery department, Luke Chang, left, listen as Han Shou-hwa, former chief of the hospital’s medical research department, speaks at a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FONG, TAIPEI TIMES

Current and former workers at Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH) yesterday voiced their opposition to the appointment of Lin Fang-yue (林芳郁), former minister of the Department of Health, as the hospital's next superintendent.

The Executive Yuan's Veterans Affairs Commission announced Lin's appointment on Thursday. However, many of the hospital's current and former staff, including former TVGH superintendent Lo Kwang-juei (羅光瑞), are opposed to the change, saying the hospital had never in its 50-year history had a superintendent who was not promoted from within the Veterans General Hospital system.

Lin has already resigned from his job as a professor at National Taiwan University Hospital.

Lo and several other former TVGH department heads held a press conference yesterday to voice their opposition.

Also present at the conference was the commission's secretary-general, Cha Tai-chen (查台傳), who told Lo and the others that the commission had made its decision carefully, adding that Lin is a medical professional who could be trusted with leading the TVGH.

Cha's answer failed to quell the dissent, with Lo and the others asking: “Do you think the VGH doesn't have any talent [to fill the position]?”

Lo told reporters that while he considered Lin a good doctor, he hoped the staff at the hospital could be rewarded for their hard work with the opportunity to be promoted.

Lo said the appointment would hurt the hospital because the staff “won't know what they are working for” if the government appoints someone who has never served at the TVGH to lead them.

Speculation is rife that Lin's appointment may be a form of political compensation. At the start of the melamine scandal in September, Lin resigned as health minister to take responsibility for the Department of Health's much-criticized handling of the controversy over food imports from China tainted with melamine.

Lo said yesterday it was “preposterous” and “unreasonable” to base the decision for appointment on political grounds.

“Many current staff are afraid to say anything, so they have come to retired staff like us to help them voice their opposition,” said Han Shou-hwa (韓韶華), former chief of the hospital's medical research department.

They hoped Lin would reconsider taking the position, because it would be difficult for him to lead the hospital without support from the staff.

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