Primary healthcare news, information & resources


Pinnacle Midlands Health Network

Pinnacle Midlands Health Network (MHN) works on behalf of Pinnacle Incorporated. 

It's the operational arm that supports the day-to-day activity of more than 85 general practice teams across the midlands region.

Owned by Pinnacle Incorporated, our staff support Pinnacle members and the Midlands Regional Health Network Charitable Trust to maintain strong relationships with key partners in the health sector.  This ensures primary and community health care services in the region are provided in the most sustainable way, and that we all have access to high quality health care now and in the future.

Pinnacle Midlands Health Network is a not-for-profit primary health care management company with offices in Hamilton, New Plymouth, Gisborne and Taupo. 

What is Primary Health Care?

Basically, when you go to the doctor - that's us. Primary health care is the professional health care you receive in your community, usually from your GP or practice nurse. Your GP leads a team of health professionals including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, psychologists and other health workers, who work together to prevent you and your family from getting sick.


Our senior leadership team


Helen Parker

Chief executive officer

Before moving to New Zealand in 2013 and joining Pinnacle MHN, Helen had a nursing, managerial and academic career in health care spanning 30 years. Most of that time was spent working in and around primary care including general practice ownership and the development of new service models and practice ownership. Helen also worked at a national level as a senior fellow with the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham and the Nuffield Trust contributing to the development and evaluation of health care policy.

Since joining Pinnacle MHN, Helen has been leading the strategic development, implementation and evaluation of the Health Care Home, supporting the development of primary care and community service models that embed technology to add value to experience and outcomes. She also spent two years with the Pinnacle Ventures team working on the "what's next" element of primary care.


Jo Scott-Jones

Medical director

Dr Jo is a GP with a practice in Opotiki, a community he has served since 1992. Since starting work with Pinnacle MHN in September 2016 Jo's clinical work has been in practices throughout the network. As medical director Dr Jo is the voice of general practice on the leadership team, and the face of Pinnacle general practice on numerous local, regional and national bodies (poster-boy is not the word we use). He has a role in practice liaison, quality, education and supports Ventures projects as well as being a great source of knowledge to the office team where he is constantly bombarded with "just a quick question".

Dr Jo has had a long involvement in medical governance and has been Chair of the Rural General Practice Network, was the inaugural Chair of the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand, and is currently an elected member on the board of the RNZCGP. He has been an examiner for the RNZCGP and Cornerstone assessor. 

Dr Jo has suffered from multiple diplomatosis in the past. His last diploma was in clinical education, he has a Masters Degree in general practice and has vowed never to do another university paper ever again! 

Dr Jo leads a dual life on twitter - @opotikigp and @pinmhnmd




Kirsty Carruthers

Chief financial officer

Kirsty has a background in commercial public and private companies in New Zealand, Australia and Scotland for 15 years. As a chartered accountant, she has worked in a range of financial roles across a variety of industries from newspapers through to roading.

Kirsty joined the Pinnacle MHN team in 2017, and is using her experience around financial control and management reporting to help improve processes and understanding of finance across the Pinnacle group.

Outside of work you can find her walking her dog, drinking a good glass of wine, or travelling.

Connect with Kirsty on LinkedIn


Tammy Hebditch

Human resources director

Tammy has a degree in psychology and a graduate diploma in human resource management. Tammy joined Pinnacle MHN a very long time ago, and because of her history here she has developed great relationships across the business. 

Tammy was a key contributor to the first Pinnacle MHN workforce survey and spent five years managing workforce scholarships.  Tammy is proof Pinnacle MHN supports the growth and development of its people. Tammy's primary focus is developing leadership in others by offering new approaches to thinking.

In a previous lifetime, Tammy enjoyed working as an in-house recruiter for the banking and telecommunications industries in Canada and England. 

Nowadays when Tammy isn't at work you'll find her playing with her two kids, dreaming about the next overseas trip or reading mystery novels.

Connect with Tammy on LinkedIn


Marie Simpson

Communication lead

Marie has worked in communication roles in New Zealand and the UK. She worked across a few different sectors but quickly discovered she isn't built to sell widgets, she needs true meaning in her work so she started working in a health focused not-for-profit environment - ten years later it still gets her out of bed in the morning.

As the self-confessed style and brand police, Marie's role at Pinnacle MHN is to make sense of the huge range of information that needs to go out the network every week. Her key areas of interest are communications strategy and planning, digital communication and above all celebrating and recognising heart-warming and life changing success stories.

Marie hones her time and project management skills by trying to keep up with the hectic demands of two kiddos. In her downtime she sometimes attempts to be a runner, but mostly she'll be on the couch with her nose in a book or trying to tame her ambitious watch list on Netflix.

Connect with Marie on LinkedIn


Justin Butcher

General manager - Regional services (interim)

Justin leads the regional services team holding responsibility for contracting and service delivery to the Waikato, Taranaki and Tairawhiti regions. In addition the Maori health manager and performance and monitoring manager are also part of his team.

Justin will be known to many of the practices from his previous Pinnacle role of general manager for Primary Health Care Limited. Justin also works with St John as an intensive care paramedic, so he's a good man to have about in an emergency! 

Connect with Justin on LinkedIn