Brackenridge CEO quits after damning Government audit

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2014

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Brackenridge chief executive Peter Campbell has quit the beleaguered facility after five months of Government investigations, inquiries into resident deaths and media scrutiny.

Campbell has been head of the Christchurch intellectual disability facility for the past 12 years.

Brackenridge board chairwoman Jane Cartwright said he was resigning "in order to pursue new challenges".

His resignation comes a week after The Press published the findings of an independent review into three resident deaths. Family members claimed the deaths were avoidable and blamed Brackenridge management.

A damning Ministry of Health (MOH) issues-based audit into Brackenridge, that was released in December, also found many of the facility's problems stemmed from an unresponsive and distant management.

The audit was commissioned by the Government after a series of complaints about the safety of the service and the public resignation of the facility's sole GP after three resident deaths in August.

During the audit, staff complained about the detachment of management, with many saying they had never met Campbell.

The audit marked Brackenridge's third Government investigation in 2013 and revealed residents had been sent to hospital without necessary information and inadequately dressed.

It found residents had been sent to school with "unexplained bumps and bruises", carrying mouldy bread and rotten fruit and that some had been living in rat-infested homes where their safety was being compromised by caregivers who slept on the couch during the day.

Campbell is not the only Brackenridge management staff member to quit the facility.

Client services manager Rachel Price signalled her resignation in mid-2013 and left the facility after the MOH audit.

"She has left and wishes to keep her reasons private," Cartwright said.

In a statement released by Cartwright yesterday, Campbell said: "The time is now right for me to move on and explore other opportunities opening up in the disability sector."

His tenure as chief executive officially ends on April 25, but he will be using accrued annual leave after February 26, which will be his last day in the office.

Cartwright said Campbell had "given a great deal to Brackenridge over his time" and that the board wished to thank him for his "wisdom and dedication".

"I have no further comment regarding his decision to resign as it is a private matter between him and the Brackenridge board," she told The Press.

Since the MOH audit, Brackenridge has developed a comprehensive action plan to improve its services and Cartwright said the facility would soon begin hunting for a new chief executive.

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Brackenridge was born out of the de-institutionalisation of Templeton Hospital in the 1990s and is home to 123 intellectually disabled residents.

- The Press

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