The vacancy left by Chiu Shu-ti will be filled temporarily by her deputy, Chen Ran-chou, until a suitable replacement can be found, according to Wang Chen-chao.
Wang made the announcement after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang accused Chiu early this month of "not knowing her place" and called her "thick-skinned" for returning to her job at the HPA after losing a local election bid.
Chiu was head of the Taipei City's Department of Health when Ma Ying-jeou was mayor and worked for Ma's first presidential campaign in 2007-2008.
In 2014, she was nominated by Ma's Kuomintang to be the party's candidate in the Yilan County magistrate election but failed to unseat incumbent Lin Tsung-hsien of the Progressive Democratic Party (DPP). She was back at the HPA after the election until now, less than a month after the DPP takes power at the central level.
In response to Tuan's attack, Chiu said on her Facebook page on June 2 that she is a public servant, not a political appointee, and that her participation in the Yilan magistrate election in her capacity as a public servant was legal.
Wang said the personnel adjustment was made after thorough consideration. Chiu was abroad attending an international meeting when the latest announcement was made, but she reportedly respects the arrangement made by her superiors, according to Wang.
Wang Ying-wei, director of the palliative ward at Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, has been tipped to take the post left vacant by Chiu, according to media reports but the health ministry spokesman said no decision has been made on Chiu's replacement. (By Chen Wei-ting and Evelyn Kao)