09/18/2014 11:39 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:58 EDT

Nova Scotia government names CEO to lead newly merged health board

HALIFAX - The CEO of two health boards in southern Nova Scotia will lead a new amalgamated health authority that will run most hospitals in the province next year.

Janet Knox of both Annapolis Valley Health and South Shore Health will advise the province as it continues consolidating its 10 boards and she will become the new health authority's CEO on April 1.

Reducing the number of health authorities from 10 to two — one for the IWK Health Centre in Halifax and one for the rest of the province — was an election promise made last year by the Liberal party.

"We have an opportunity to build a system that thinks and acts like one," Health Minister Leo Glavine said Thursday.

The Liberals have said the province will save $13 million a year through amalgamation.

Glavine has said that while most of the savings would come from shared services and staffing reductions, the only positions to be cut would be from management.

The Liberals have been under pressure from the opposition parties to outline how much would be saved in the first year of amalgamation when they cut the jobs of CEOs and vice presidents in the health-care system.

Glavine wasn't able to give a precise answer on Thursday, but he said it will be in the millions of dollars.

NDP health critic Dave Wilson isn't convinced, saying the severance costs for senior executives will be expensive.

"I'm concerned that other jurisdictions have done this and it has cost tens of millions of dollars in severance and paying off CEOs and VPs to leave the system," he said. "That money should be going to frontline health care."