Diane Griffin appointed to lead Health P.E.I. board

Diane Griffin retired from the Senate in March. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC - image credit)
Diane Griffin retired from the Senate in March. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC - image credit)

Former senator Diane Griffin has taken over as chair of the board of Health P.E.I.

The position became available on Dec. 31 with the resignation of Derek Key. Two weeks ago, a letter to Premier Dennis King from Key, dated Dec. 6, became public. It outlined a lengthy list of concerns.

Key said Health P.E.I. needed more independence from government, in particular when it came to hiring health-care professionals. The process is unnecessarily complicated, he said.

In an interview with CBC News, Griffin said she took about eight days to reflect before deciding to accept the appointment. She said she wanted to better understand the frustrations that led to Key's resignation and get a sense of what her role would be.

'Can I make any difference?'

"It's a situation where one really thinks, you know, can I make any difference?" she said. "Do I, do I need this? I'm supposed to be retired and having fun now. But anyway, the way I finally looked at it was, look, this is a challenge, all right. But on the other hand, health care is something that's important to all of us and if I can play some little role in expediting our change to a system that's more healthy, I thought I'd give it a go."

Griffin said she intends to work collaboratively with the entire Health P.E.I. team, its partners and stakeholders to build a health system that provides high-quality care province-wide.

Griffin retired from the Senate, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 75, in March.

Health Minister Ernie Hudson announced her appointment Monday.

"Diane has extensive experience in governance including serving in roles such as deputy minister, town councillor and most recently as a senator," said Hudson in a news release.

"I know she will excel in providing governance and oversight for our health authority as we make the necessary changes to increase access to care while stabilizing our health care system."