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'Seamless' hospital ownership transfer complete

Waitaki App

Staff Reporter

02 July 2024, 12:39 AM

'Seamless' hospital ownership transfer complete Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher and Health NZ Southern Group operations director Hamish Brown mark the transfer of Ōamaru Hospital's ownership yesterday (July 1). Photo: supplied

After 25 years of local ownership, July 1, was the day Ōamaru Hospital once again became Government owned.

A morning tea was held yesterday to mark the transfer of ownership from Waitaki District Health Services (WDHS) to Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora, a process which has been months in the planning.

A smooth transition has been ensured through an agreement by all staff to transfer their contracts to Health NZ, meaning no change will be noticed by hospital users, the Waitaki District Council said in a statement.


Council chief executive Alex Parmley says ensuring staff are looked after and services will not be affected is important for the community. 

“With the transfer today, we’ve ensured a sustainable future for the Ōamaru Hospital.”

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher says the transfer is “bittersweet”.

“And it’s a good time to recognise the many, many people who served the community at Ōamaru Hospital over the last 25 years. 

“Thanks to them, and to the hospital staff and management who continue to provide essential services for the Waitaki District.”

Particular thanks was offered to WDHS board chair and former hospital chief executive Keith Marshall, fellow board members, and hospital co-chief executives Andrea Cairns and Hugh Kettlewell, for their leadership efforts to ensure the district retained a hospital, and in supporting the transfer.

Health NZ Southern Group operations director Hamish Brown says the day has been significant for staff as they move under the umbrella of the national health system.

“This is a big change for everyone but I thank the staff and leadership of WDHS for working with us to make this a seamless transition for the Waitaki community.

“Health NZ is also committed to working with the community, the Waitaki District Council, and other stakeholders to achieve better health service access and outcomes for the Waitaki community through the Te Waka Hauora o Waitaki Health Futures Project.”

As part of council’s continuing relationship with Health NZ, Mr Parmley and councillor Tim Blacker have been appointed by the council to the Te Waka Hauora o Waitaki Health Futures project, and will be involved in developing a better health care services model for the district.