Qld health exec wants job back or $4m compo

A hearing date has been set before the state's industrial umpire into the case of a sacked Queensland hospital and health service executive who is seeking reinstatement or alternatively, up to $4 million compensation for lost earnings and reputational damage.

Adrian Pennington was terminated from his $410,000-a-year position as chief executive of the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service last September after more than seven years in the job.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles signed off on the dismissal in December.

Mr Pennington's case for reinstatement will be heard in Bundaberg before the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission over five days from November 16.

 

Former Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Adrian Pennington.
Former Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Adrian Pennington.

Lawyers for Mr Pennington are seeking an order in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission that he be reinstated or alternatively, that he be compensated for future economic loss and for the pain, suffering, hurt and humiliation suffered as a result of losing his job.

His dismissal followed tensions with the health service's board chair, Peta Jamieson.

Ms Jamieson sent an email to Wide Bay HHS staff in late September saying Mr Pennington had been terminated "effective immediately".

The email came two months after a Facebook post Mr Pennington wrote "amid a mental health crisis" in July, which included criticism of the board chair. It was later removed.

Mr Pennington's crisis is understood to have followed relationship issues, the pending death of a close colleague and significant workplace stress.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service board chair Peta Jamieson and the service’s former chief executive Adrian Pennington in happier times.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service board chair Peta Jamieson and the service’s former chief executive Adrian Pennington in happier times.

Two WBHHS board members Joy Jensen and George Plint both resigned in the wake of Mr Pennington's dismissal.

Both are likely to be called before the QIRC hearing, which is also expected to call Mr Miles, Queensland Health Director-General John Wakefield and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service senior executives to give evidence.

In a statement today, Mr Pennington said he was honoured to serve the Wide Bay HHS.

"My team and I achieved so many significant improvements to the health services in Wide Bay and the health outcomes for patients across the Wide Bay region. We had so much more planned," he said.

"I believe that my record speaks for itself. Wide Bay went from the worst performing health service in Australia when I started to one of the best performing public health services in the world at the time of my termination.

"I moved from the UK to take up the position as service chief executive and had planned to finish my career in Bundaberg. This dream has been taken from me.

"My case before the commission seeks redress for what I firmly believe were chair Peta Jamieson's and the service's unlawful reasons for my termination.

"I hope that, if I am successful, I will be reinstated and finish the job my team and I started."

Bundaberg patient advocate Beryl Crosby said she intended to attend the November hearing before industrial commissioner Minna Knight to support Mr Pennington.

The Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and its board said they were aware of the action.

"However, it would be inappropriate to comment while the matter is before the commission," they said in a statement.

 

Originally published as Qld health exec wants job back or $4m compo



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