Leo Glavine says the process will move slowly at first because the Health Department is still looking for a deputy minister.
Glavine says he's aware of reports that suggest amalgamation of health boards in other provinces has led to only small savings, but he adds that Nova Scotia will move ahead with the plan.
He suggested its unrealistic to point to Alberta's experience because that province has only one health board and a population almost four times the size of Nova Scotia's.
Glavine says there are savings to be had in Nova Scotia, pointing out that the provincial health boards have no fewer than eight vice-presidents of medicine serving less than 400,000 people outside the Halifax area.
The minister says history shows that the province's health system worked fine under a previous Liberal government when there were only four health districts.