AWF exits health service – ACC blamed
Temporary staffing agency AWF Group has sold its healthcare provider Panacea Healthcare for $7.2 million.
AWF, which provides mainly blue-collar casual workers to short-staffed employers, sold Panacea to community-based health and disability support provider Healthcare New Zealand.
Panacea provides ACC-funded home and community support services and certified care for the disabled and elderly, along with companionship and nursing services in Auckland and the central North Island.
AWF managing director Simon Hull told NBR ONLINE opportunities in the ACC-funded healthcare are decreasing over time and he felt AWF had better things to focus on.
Mr Hull says ACC is tightening up on areas around funding and rationalisation of ownership. He felt the services on offer may have inhibited business growth for both Panacea and AWF.
“We see other opportunities in other areas which probably have better synergies with our core business.”
He understands how the acquisition of Panacea in 2010 could have been seen as one out of left field, given AWF’s core business is contract labour, but says the services and the outcomes are essentially the same.
“We have been personally surprised at how similar the challenges are. Some of the services are outcome-based but essentially it’s people working by the hour in the field.
"And it’s been quite enlightening to see that, notwithstanding the different skill sets required, the challenges such as employing the right people and training them are similar.”
He believes AWF has been able to add value to Panacea but believes now is the right time to look at other opportunities.
In March this year, the Panacea subsidiary bought South Island-based Nursing Home Help Service.