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Central Healthcare plans to build a medical facility on the Milson Line from Palmerston North to complement the private healthcare services provided at Crest Hospital.
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Central Healthcare plans to build a medical facility on the Milson Line from Palmerston North to complement the private healthcare services provided at Crest Hospital.

Extensions of Palmerston North’s private health services have gone a step further with the Commerce Commission granting authorization for a change in ownership of Crest Hospital.

The commission’s decision will allow Central Healthcare Operations Ltd to acquire shares in the businesses that are held by Aorangi Hospital Ltd since it entered into a joint venture with Southern Cross in 2013.

The former Aorangi and Southern Cross Hospitals later merged and expanded facilities on Carroll St, becoming the only private hospital in Manawatū.

The authorization provides confidence for Central Healthcare to move ahead with plans for a complementary private healthcare facility, including radiology services, a dental suite and offices, to be built on the Milson Line.

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Central Healthcare managing director Colin Hutchinson said it has provided a springboard to improve healthcare services in the region to serve current and future generations.

Central Healthcare is owned by a group of 39 shareholders associated with mid-career surgeons and other specialist physicians in the Manawatū area, many practicing at Crest Hospital.

Aorangi is made up of a smaller group of surgeons and specialists, some of them retired.

Central Healthcare told the commission that the proposal provided for “succession and renewal” of the Crest joint venture.

In early 2022, it announced that it had purchased land and planned to build a 10,000 square meter healthcare facility in two stages on the Milson Line, near the Julia Wallace nursing home.

Hutchinson said he was waiting for Trade Commission clearance for the ownership change before starting work on the development, which was designed to complement, not compete with, existing public and private healthcare services.

Crest's private practices and hospital will be supported by a new medical complex on Milson Line, Palmerston North.

Warwick Smith/Coisas

Crest’s private practices and hospital will be supported by a new medical complex on Milson Line, Palmerston North.

Crest Hospital opened a fifth operating room in late 2022 to ensure access to full room lists for elective patients referred from Te Whatu Ora – MidCentral’s public hospital service.

There was more room for Crest Hospital and offices to expand on the Carroll St.

Central Healthcare expected to begin two-year construction on the Milson Line in 2022 and open in July 2024.

Hutchinson said the revised schedule was for construction to start in mid-2023.

Southern Cross Healthcare chief executive Chris White said the transition from joint ownership with a group of retired or retired specialists to a younger group of professionals has created a positive opportunity.

He said Central Healthcare would enable future growth to meet the healthcare needs of the local community.

“The common ownership link between Crest Hospital and the development on the Milson Line would be of great benefit to the future of healthcare delivery in Manawatū.”

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