There has been a hospital on the present Wakefield Hospital site in the Wellington suburb of Newtown for over 80 years. Wakefield Hospital’s origins trace back to Lewisham Hospital, which was opened in 1929 by the then Prime Minister, Sir Joseph Ward, and Governor General, Sir Charles Fergusson. Lewisham was owned and operated by a Catholic order of nursing sisters. The name of the hospital was changed to Calvary Hospital in 1953 and the Mary Potter Hospice operated at the hospital until 1990. In 1987 Wellcare Corporation purchased the hospital and renamed it Wellcare Hospital. In 1989 a consortium of investors including a number of local medical specialists purchased the hospital and Wakefield Hospital was born.
Since this time there has been constant upgrading and expansion of facilities at Wakefield Hospital, with major projects including the addition of three new theatres, new post anaesthetic care unit, new endoscopy unit, new central sterilising service facilities, new plant rooms, radiology and cardiology extensions, fit-out of a fully-equipped catheter laboratory and fit-out of two theatres with fully-integrated digital capability. While the façade of the original building is unchanged, much has happened behind this to make Wakefield Hospital central New Zealand’s premier tertiary private hospital.
In order to access new capital for continued redevelopment and to allow for a broader investor base, Wakefield Hospital Limited listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (now NZX) in September 2001. In April 2003 Wakefield Hospital Limited acquired Bowen Hospital from the Bowen Hospital Trust Board. Bowen Hospital has operated on its present site amongst native bush in the Wellington suburb of Crofton Downs since the early 1970s, having moved from a smaller facility in Bowen Street from which it derived its name.
Wakefield Hospital Limited changed its name to Wakefield Health Limited in 2005 to reflect the broadening of the company’s activities, which at that time also included an investment in a clinical trials company, P3 Research Limited, which was subsequently sold in 2007.
In 2006, Wakefield Health Limited amalgamated with Royston Hospital Limited, the owner of Royston Hospital in Hastings. Royston Hospital opened in 1924 and shifted to its present site in 1931 following the Hawke’s Bay earthquake. It was owned and operated by a charitable trust, the Royston Hospital Trust Board, until 1993 when the Trust formed Royston Hospital Limited as a joint venture company with local medical specialists to own and operate the Hospital.
A major redevelopment of the Bowen Hospital campus commenced in late 2009 with the construction of the “Bowen Centre” which was completed in December 2010 and houses new consulting, radiology and endoscopy facilities. The next phase, completed in January 2012, includes a new 5-theatre digital operating suite (3 theatres fitted out to date). These i-suites are not only the most advanced theatres in NZ but arguably the most modern innovative theatres currently in Australasia. The last phase, completed in August 2013 provides for 2nd stage recovery, a patient admit area and related facilities. The completed project, in its unique location overlooking the Ngaio Gorge, offers Bowen Hospital and the surgical teams that operate here the ability to provide exceptional results and care to their patients.
In 2011, as part of its continuing growth strategy, Wakefield Health Limited acquired a 60% share in Norfolk Investments Ltd which owns and manages Tauranga's Grace Hospital in partnership with Southern Cross Hospitals.
This was followed by the acquisition of a 30% interest in Endoscopy Auckland Limited and Laparoscopy Auckland Limited, premier facilities specialising in the investigation and treatment of gastrointestinal tract problems and laparoscopic general surgery and bariatric procedures respectively. Integrated Hospitals Limited, which also owns the Mercy Ascot hospital group, currently holds a 50% interest in Endoscopy and Laparoscopy Auckland.
Wakefield Health Limited changed its name to Acurity Health Group Limited in August 2012 to better reflect its own unique identity as owner of three private surgical hospitals and its investment in other health related organisations across the country.
In December 2015, Evolution Healthcare (a privately owned Australian and New Zealand private hospital operator) acquired 100% of Acurity Health Group Ltd (NZ). Evolution Healthcare will continue to focus on supporting staff, VMO engagement and developing the staged expansion plan for Wakefield Hospital.