Health Minister resigns
Chiu Wen-ta, the Minister of Health and Welfare has resigned his portfolio following the revelations that so called ‘gutter oil’ was used to make lard that was then subsequently used in a series of bakeries. Gutter oil is that oil which has been recycled from kitchen waste and from leather processing factories. Eight suspects have been charged with fraud and breaches of food safety regulations.
Lin Tzou-yien has been appointed as acting Minister of Health and Welfare.
“The formal press release as published on the Executive Yuan website is as follows:
Resignation of Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta accepted
Date: 103-10-03 Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan
Tonight (October 3) Premier Jiang Yi-huah formally accepted the resignation of Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta, Executive Yuan Spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun stated today. The agency’s acting minister will be Lin Tzou-yien, who has been serving as its administrative deputy minister.
Chiu had offered to step down multiple times in recent days to take responsibility for the tainted lard oil scandal. He formally submitted a letter of resignation to the premier after the Pingtung District Prosecutors Office concluded its investigation into the companies involved and indicted cooking oil supplier Kuo Lieh-cheng and seven others for fraud and food safety crimes today. The premier spoke with Chiu at noon and agreed to his resignation, then formally approved it in the evening.
Jiang thanked Chiu for his hard work and affirmed his many accomplishments as the last minister of the Department of Health (DOH) and the first of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), which replaced the DOH. Chiu opened a new page in the history of public health and social welfare administration by integrating relevant agencies and establishing the MOHW on July 23, 2013, the premier stated.
As minister, Chiu smoothly completed the second-generation National Health Insurance reforms. This initiative has already saved more than NT $ 100 billion (US $ 3.3 billion), succeeding in garnering high public approval at a level few other health care reforms in the world have attained, Executive Yuan officials said.
The former minister actively responded to all challenges faced by the nation’s medical system, the Executive Yuan stated, including the following:
- Resolving the staff shortages in the five major branches of hospitals (internal medicine, external medicine, gynaecology, paediatric care and emergency care.)
- Promoting 10 strategies for nursing reform.
- Raising the standard of care in outlying islands.
- Reducing the number of medical litigation cases.
- Dealing with the H1N1 and H7N9 influenza epidemics.
- Reforming DOH-affiliated hospitals following irregularities.”