Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, has issued the following statement regarding concerns raised about decisions and spending at the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).
“On Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, specific concerns about decisions and spending at the PHSA were raised through the media. In response to the concerns, I directed the deputy minister of health to assess the PHSA’s decisions and conduct relating to specific concerns, and to provide recommendations on actions, changes to policies or other such changes that could be taken.
“The concerns to be assessed were that:
- the PHSA undertook unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations to the 14th floor of PHSA headquarters at 1333 West Broadway, Vancouver;
- the PHSA made inappropriate human resource decisions relating to hiring, appointments, continuity planning, severance and salary continuance;
- the PHSA authorized excessive catering expenses for PHSA executives and staff from mid-March 2020 to mid-June 2020; and
- concerns relating to the procurement of problematic respirators and appropriateness of followup with the vendor.
“On Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, I received and accepted recommendations made by the deputy minister. These include:
- limitations on the PHSA’s authority to spend internal capital without the deputy minister’s approval;
- a review and refresh of policies relating to internal capital planning, to be completed by the Ministry of Health;
- limitations on the PHSA’s authority to make senior executive changes without the deputy minister’s approval;
- a review of business meeting expense policies for the PHSA and each regional health authority to ensure expense policies are reasonable from a taxpayer’s perspective; and
- the hiring of an independent third-party advisor to provide a report to the deputy minister of health that will fully clarify and review concerns about the appropriateness of the PHSA’s handling of a problematic purchase of personal protective equipment and other related concerns, to help restore public confidence in the PHSA and its leadership.
“I have made it clear that it is critical that the public has confidence in the PHSA and the management of B.C.’s health system in general.”
A backgrounder follows.