The headline in her local paper, The Waitomo News, says it all: “A true champion of rural health.”
Thia Priestly led Te Kuiti Hospital for 22 years, coming from a background as a registered nurse and with experience that included commissioning operating theatres in Melbourne.
But the community of North King Country is where she leaves her legacy as an advocate for rural health, for the viability and sustainability of rural communities, and as a strong but much loved manager.
She was actively involved in a large number of programmes to improve rural health integration and had a knack for getting grassroots community “buy-in” for the many changes that have taken place. For Thia, it was always about the people – patients, community, staff – and above all, the local people.
She is particularly proud of the relationships built with the Maniopoto people over the years, improved attitudes to Maori health, and the high level of access to services, clinicians and GPs.
Read the full Waitomo News article here: Thia Priestly retires.