Saskatchewan

Sask. Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone resigns from position, effective immediately

Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) CEO Scott Livingstone has resigned from his position.

SHA won't comment on the reason, saying it's a 'personnel matter'

Scott Livingstone has left his CEO position with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) CEO Scott Livingstone has resigned from his position.

A statement sent on Thursday morning on behalf of Arlene Wiks, chair of SHA's Board of Directors, said the board received notice that Livingstone has left his position, effective immediately.

"The board is grateful for Scott's leadership during the creation of the SHA and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement said.

"As CEO, Scott demonstrated a commitment to patient- and family-centred care and provided stability during a time of substantial change and significant pressures on the health system due to COVID."

CBC News requested an interview with the SHA but no one was made available.

However, an SHA spokesperson confirmed in an email that Livingstone gave his resignation notice last week. The email said it's a personnel matter and SHA won't be commenting further on his decision.

The email said an announcement wasn't made until Thursday because, "time was required to work out processes for the appointment of an interim CEO." 

Premier Scott Moe told reporters after the announcement that he found out about Livingstone's resignation late last week, but he also wouldn't comment on why Livingstone resigned.

Moe said it was a "staffing matter" within the SHA and that he wouldn't "discuss some of the [human resource] matters."

When asked if Livingstone would receive severance pay, Moe said he didn't believe so since Livingstone resigned.

SHA's email didn't clarify if Livingstone would receive severance pay because it's also a "personnel matter."

However, it said if any severance is provided it will be publicly reported through the SHA Annual Report.

Livingstone's messaging during the pandemic was sometimes at odds with the government's.

In October, Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman said the province was not asking the federal government for assistance because Saskatchewan's health-care system had enough workers to handle its load of patients with and without COVID-19.

That statement came only a day after Livingstone said the system was still under "significant pressures" because of the flood of COVID-19 patients into Saskatchewan hospitals. 

It also came as the province was in talks with Ontario and Manitoba about potentially moving some ICU patients out of province because of those pressures.

Saskatchewan ended up transferring 27 patients to Ontario and requested military help from the federal government in October.

Moe said Livingstone's resignation was not related to his messaging on COVID-19 and that the government did not play a role in the decision.

Moe went on to thank Livingstone for his achievements with the SHA, including his role in merging all of the province's health authorities into one and his work during the pandemic.

"His efforts throughout this time and guidance and leadership has been appreciated."

The health authority's COO position is currently open as well after Suann Laurent retired at the end of October, according to a statement SHA sent to CBC News.

"This was announced to leadership teams across the organization. Her job accountabilities had transitioned to the CEO. This position currently remains vacant."

SHA said details haven't been finalized on when either position will be permanently filled, but "when they are finalized we will certainly make the process and expected timelines public."

Interim CEO named

Andrew Will has been appointed as the interim CEO, according SHA.

Will was born and educated in Saskatchewan. He has served in executive leadership positions for health regions in both Saskatchewan and Alberta, including CEO of four health regions and acting CEO of the former Saskatoon Health Region. 

He also served as executive vice president of clinical support services for Alberta Health Services. Will has also served as the chief executive officer of 3sHealth. Before being named interim CEO, Will was the vice president of infrastructure, information and support for the SHA.

No operations or services have been affected during this time, according to SHA.

"Our board is committed to ensuring this transition process ensures operational continuity and stability for our health system."

With files from Adam Hunter, Alexander Quon and Guy Quenneville

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