6 Aug 2012

Wakefield Health looks to acquire more hospitals

9:00 am on 6 August 2012

The private hospital operator Wakefield Health says it is looking to acquire more hospitals in different areas of the country over the next financial year.

Shareholders last week voted to change the name and branding of the company to Acurity Health Group Ltd to reflect its changing operations over the last financial year, during which it acquired two new hospitals in Tauranga and Auckland.

Chief executive Andrew Blair says the company has changed from just being an operator of hospitals in Wellington to being an owner-operator of, and investor in, other healthcare facilities throughout the country.

He says the company is continuing to look for growth opportunities and sees geographical diversity as a strength.

Mr Blair says Wakefield is strong in private surgical hospitals and it's not looking to diversify out of that area.

"There are a number of private hospitals up and down New Zealand that are either owned by not-for-profit organisations that increasingly are finding the economic conditions tough," he says, "or there are other hospitals that are owned by the doctors and at some point they look for an exit mechanism."

Mr Blair says Wakefield is also looking at adding new services such as cancer treatment or maternity services that complement existing core surgical services.

He says the company is also planning to redevelop its health campus on the site of Wakefield Hospital, in the Wellington suburb of Newtown.

It will seismically strengthen some existing buildings and consider further expansion of facilities.