Sacked Health Minister, Rob Callister MHK, has criticised the political members of his former department for their lack of support while he was in the role.
In an open email to the Chief Minister, Alfred Cannan, Mr Callister said: ‘I will never forgive the gross unfairness of what has unfolded over the past couple of days or during my short time as the Minister of Health and Social Care.
‘Neither will I forgive the members for their behaviour and for the lack of support, at a time when everyone should have been pulling together.’
He added: ‘The department members just didn’t give me a chance, but unfortunately my focus as the minister was on the department, the staff, the external relationships and trying to desperately understand this massive department.’
In response to his sacking, Mr Callister said: ‘I guess I am learning the hard way that hard work and the truth don’t matter in Manx politics.’
In another email to Mr Cannan, the Onchan MHK said: ‘I had a political team who were challenging and unsupportive, and at a time when all three department members should have been fully aware of the fragile position that the department was in, especially in the absence of the chief executive for the first couple of weeks.’
He added: ‘Looking back over the past couple of weeks, I certainly feel I went into this department with one hand already tied behind my back.’
It was also revealed, in one of the emails to the Chief Minister, that political members of the DHSC – Joney Faragher, Dr Michelle Haywood and Tanya August-Hanson MLC – has said Mr Callister was ‘incompetent’.
In response to this Mr Callister said: ‘I absolutely refute those comments and I am also certain that the seven ministers I have supported over the past six years, along with many of the departments I have represented, would disagree on that point as well.
‘Not being able to answer questions on administrative errors by officers within the department in respect of legal documents submitted and the authorisation of a press release around a CQC report is not incompetence, but it does highlight internal failings of policy and procedure.’
The department’s three political members, said in a joint statement: ‘Given the comments made about our role in this unfortunate situation, we firstly want to observe that we play no part in hiring and firing.
‘Secondly, we’d like to assure people that our priority is to deliver the best we can for the DHSC and to continue to work positively and productively with the staff and Minister Hooper.’
In the announcement of Mr Callister’s sacking on Thursday morning, the Chief Minister said: ‘The DHSC and our health and care sector more broadly, are facing a set of complex challenges.
‘I have reluctantly concluded that the DHSC needs a different approach at this critical juncture.’
Mr Callister spent 51 days in the council of ministers and in the office of Health Minister.
Mr Cannan continued: ‘I want to thank Rob for all the positive work that he has undertaken during the course of this administration.
‘He has had to deal with a number of significant challenges in the past 12 months including managing the post-Covid return of the TT and MGP, supporting the Visit Agency in developing their new strategy and maintaining stability of electricity pricing as chairman of the Manx Utilities Authority.
‘I expect that Rob’s hard work, experience and drive will see him back contributing in the near future.’
The previous Health Minister Lawrie Hooper MHK will take over Callister’s role in the department with immediate effect and will remain as the Minister for the Department for Enterprise.
Mr Hooper only moved from DHSC to DfE in September, when Mr Callister was appointed as Health Minister.