Former Department of Health minister Lin Fang-yue (林芳郁) yesterday officially took over as the new superintendent of Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH), despite opposition from some of the staff at the hospital.
At the inauguration ceremony, Lin said he felt like “a bride marrying into her husband’s family,” and that he was willing to make adjustments to become part of the TVGH family.
“I am proud to be appointed superintendent of TVGH, the leading hospital in Taiwan,” Lin said. “From this moment on … I will work hard with everyone to achieve the hospital’s goals and lead it to becoming an internationally recognized, first-class hospital.”
As superintendent, Lin said he hoped to develop medical care for the elderly, improve the hospital’s cooperation with other hospitals and medical research centers, as well as focus medical research on the biomedical field.
Lin was accompanied by his wife Lin Ching-yun(林靜芸), celebrity cosmetic surgeon and founder of Jean’s Clinic of Plastic Surgery.
Most of the TVGH department heads attended Lin’s inauguration ceremony, which was overseen by Kao Hua-chu (高華柱), director of the Executive Yuan’s Veterans Affairs Commission.
Lin said he hoped his entering the TVGH system would be a first step toward breaking down the walls that separate different hospital systems in Taiwan.
He said he would thoroughly become a “TVGH person,” a term many use to describe hospital personnel that work within the TVGH system, as opposed to a “National Taiwan University [NTU] person,” which describes someone who works in or graduated from NTU or National Taiwan University Hospital.
As the first superintendent of TVGH who was not promoted from within the system in the hospital’s 50-year history, Lin’s appointment has been met with opposition from both outside and within the hospital.
Earlier this month, former TVGH superintendent Lo Kwang-juei (羅光瑞), as well as several other retired and current hospital staff and department heads, held a press conference to openly criticize the appointment as politically motivated.
Last week, a local newspaper ran an advertisement on its front page that said government officials were “shaming the medical field” with Lin’s appointment.
Despite reports that some TVGH staff planned to oust him within a few months, Lin said he hoped he would serve in this position “for a while.”
Lin’s previous post as health minister ended after four months.
At the start of the melamine scandal in September, Lin resigned as health minister to take responsibility for the department’s handling of the controversy over tainted food imports from China.
His resignation made him the Cabinet member with the shortest term of service since Liu Chao-hsiuan (劉兆玄) became the premier.