Medical centre's next move unclear

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 27/10/2012

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The general manager of Hawera's Southcare medical centre has quit.

The shock resignation comes just weeks after the medical centre launched a major review into its sustainability.

Exactly why Kevin Simpson jumped ship remains a mystery.

When the Taranaki Daily News contacted Mr Simpson yesterday he declined to explain his reasons for departing the organisation.

And Southcare trust chairwoman Ella Borrows said it wasn't "her place to speak for him".

"That was his decision to make and his alone.

"I don't want to go into it, really."

Last week, the Daily News approached the centre's trust after it received information the organisation was in financial strife and considering approaching the Midlands Health Network or the South Taranaki District Council for a bailout.

At the time, Mrs Borrows said there was "no truth to that" but they were reviewing all aspects of the centre to create a "strong and sustainable model".

The review was designed to make sure they were meeting their targets both medically and financially.

Yesterday, she said Mr Simpson's resignation offered them a chance to develop the position to suit their needs.

Exactly what that would look like remained up for discussion, she said.

"We are completely open at the moment and we will be talking with staff about how they would like to see that work."

Until a decision is made Mrs Borrows will be sitting in as acting general manager.

Another major change to come during the review, which will be completed next month, was a new Hamilton-based call centre.

The 24-hour call centre, similar to Plunketline or Healthline, is managed by Midlands Health Network and Medibank, has been taking up to 1200 calls a week since its inception.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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