Director-General of Health Chai Chuah resigned today, making the decision to finish his term early.

Chuah said although he is “immensely proud” of progress made over last four years, he cited controversy in the health sector and the need for a more unified approach as key reasons for his resignation.

“It’s always been my view that the health system needs to tackle the challenges ahead as One Team. While significant progress has been made in shifting the system forward it has not been without controversy in the sector.

“At this time, it is increasingly important for the sector to operate in a unified way if we are to accelerate and further embed the gains we have already made.”

Chuah was first appointed to the position in an acting capacity in November 2013 and was confirmed in the role in March 2015 for a five-year term.

Health Minister Dr David Clark said he respected Chuah’s decision to finish early and thanked him for his service.

However, previous tensions between Labour and Chuah may signal the reason for his early resignation.

Last year Labour called for Chuah’s resignation from the role after financial mismanagement of the refit of the Ministry of Health’s head office meant the Government had to contribute $18 million for what was supposed to be a self-funded job.

These calls were renewed when a major health budget blunder this year saw many District Health Boards promised millions more in funding than they were actually to receive.

Chuah’s last day on the job will be 2 February next year. An acting Director-General of Health will be appointed shortly and the State Services Commissioner will begin the process of appointing a new Director-General of Health.

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