Southern Cross Healthcare’s newly completed $11 million expansion of its New Plymouth hospital was unveiled at a dawn blessing ceremony yesterday, led by Ngāti Te Whiti kaumātua Shane Cassidy.
The completion of the two-stage hospital development on St Aubyn Street commenced with the expansion of the car park in August 2020. This was followed by the construction of two new operating theatres, a 12-bed post-anaesthesia care unit and a 13-chair day procedure recovery area which was finished in December last year.
Southern Cross Healthcare Interim Chief Executive Chris White, who attended the blessing ceremony, said “We’re grateful to everyone who worked so tirelessly on the development. It’s a fantastic achievement to get a project like this completed, especially through a pandemic.”
Southern Cross New Plymouth Hospital General Manager Lee McManus said, “The increased operating theatre capacity, and associated recovery beds will enable the hospital to better meet the increasing healthcare needs of New Plymouth and the wider Taranaki region, and treat more patients who require procedures.
“We’re also honoured to have been gifted two beautiful framed taonga from local carver Bobby-Jo Manukonga to display in each new theatre which were unveiled at the blessing. Our team is looking forward to treating the first patients in the new surgical areas today,” she said.
The hospital treats privately insured and self-funding patients, as well as those funded through agreements with ACC and DHBs.
Southern Cross employs approximately 154 staff at its New Plymouth hospital and is recruiting additional staff to work in the newly commissioned areas.
McManus, a highly experienced clinician, was recently appointed as General Manager in November 2021 after long-serving GM Jenny Gamble retired from the role. McManus was previously at Taranaki District Health Board as Hospital Manager Acute and Planned Care.
McManus said she’s pleased to have joined the Southern Cross New Plymouth team at such an exciting time.
“I’ve always been passionate about delivering excellent healthcare services and I’m looking forward to guiding our staff to keep doing exactly that for the people of Taranaki. I was born and raised locally and love living here, and I am really happy to be able to contribute to the health of the community.”