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In a statement from Waitaki District Health Services, Robert Gonzales said "working for the hospital has been a 24/7 job".
"I am looking forward to having a bit of a break after 17 years and pursue personal interests while deciding on my next step."
Mr Gonzales’ resignation was effective immediately.
He could not immediately be reached for comment.
Waitaki District Health Services chairman Chris Swann said Mr Gonzales had made a "significant contribution" to the hospital and community during his tenure. Mr Gonzales had extended the hospital’s services, overseeing hosting the surgical bus service, installing a CT scanner and digital radiology systems, the introduction of the health warrant of fitness service, the patient transfer van service, the construction of the Takaro Lodge wing, which for a number of years housed the residential aged-care service and most recently the outpatient video-conference clinic system for the hospital.
"Robert’s dedication, loyalty and advocacy for Waitaki’s health services were exemplary and we sincerely wish him the very best for the future," Mr Swann said.
He said the board would begin recruiting a new chief executive.