Help Save Neurosurgery - Join our campaign here

Neurosurgery services in Otago and Southland are under threat.  The Otago Daily Times urges readers and people of New Zealand to express their opposition to any reduction of services.

Have your say by:-

  • Writing post-free to the Hon. Tony Ryall, Minister of Health, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.You can use a form letter, provided here.
  • Emailing
  • Adding your opinion to our website with Your Say (Opinion? Have Your Say or Login or Register)
  • Writing a letter to the Editor, Otago Daily Times, PO Box 181, Dunedin or email subject Letter to Editor.
  • Join our Online Petition below by adding your full name and where you are from to our Comments section below this story.

Thank you for taking the time to make your opinion known and your voice heard.

Neurosurgery in Dunedin

It's a no brianer! Keep neurosurgery in the South. We are talking about people's lives here. Lose it to Christchurch and we will lose precious lives as well. Keep neurosurgery in Dunedin.

Neurosurgery services

Must be retained in Otago and Southland.

Keep neurosurgery in Dunedin

You only need to be involved with one family, one case, and the requirement is clear.

Neurosurgery services

My mother and my wife have both required neurosurgery during their lives, one in Dunedin, the other in Christchurch. The disruption to family life cannot be forgotten when these events occur and the closer they are to where family live, the better. Keep the service in Dunedin for Otago and Southland people.

Neurosurgery in Dunedin

I wish to register my strong disagreement with the proposal to remove neurosurgery from Dunedin. Dunedin Public Hospital services have deteriorated enough, this can not happen.

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Keep neurosurgery services in Dunedin.

Let it not be forgotten...

Let it not be forgotten, that this is not a case where the centres, Dunedin and Christchurch, are competing for a new service. It is a case where a unit with a long history of successful operation is to be disestablished to create cover for 'nine-to-five' neurosurgeons at Christchurch, using to their advantage the fact that a key plank in the thinking (such as it is), of 'National' Governments is invariably centralisation of services, no matter what the cost.
The term of neurosurgeons and senior nurses, and in fact, all who attended to my needs in 1960, had no such view of humanity. They entered the profession for, very largely, the good which could be accomplished as the outcomes of their efforts, and when the occasional need arose to quit the golf course mid-round to attend to the needs of some poor sod, deteriorating at a rate which wouldn't enable him/her to 'hold-out' until Monday, they acceded to the fact that the prestige and monetary rewards which their profession brought them also came with a downside.

Neurosurgery in Dunedin

I fully support a neurosurgery service in Dunedin.
As a rural nurse who has lived and worked in a remote, rural area of Otago, I know from experience how essential it is to have services such as neurosurgery available in Dunedin, the closest base hosptial. When treatment for patients is time-critical it is reassuring to know that patients are being transported to Dunedin to receive expert, often life-saving, care.

Keep it here

I am upset at the Governments response to the large turnout of demonstrators in favour of neurosurgery staying in Dunedin. How can a panel equal the attendance of this rally? This is when Government should be listening to the people instead of panels of informers that become invisible after elections.
$15 million for a stadium is not an "Indian gift" - or is it? Is this the price that we are paying for the stadium?
It is very disheartening to receive such a minus for the region and the city.

Neurosurgery petition

Stephen Barnes, Queenstown NZ, and Melbourne Australia

Online petition

Keep neurosurgery in Dunedin.

Neurosurgery services

Red Tussock
The Highlands of Otago ... A long long way from Christchurch

Online petition

Bridget Robinson,
Ex-pat in London.

Dunedin neurosurgey services

I live in Auckland and am appalled to hear of this proposal. The notion of centralising health services to save money is not a new one, but it must be balanced with the need for the greater good.

Critical services such as this should never be more than an hour away from anyone in need (the Golden Hour), except perhaps for the most remote locations where minimal populations make the service unfeasible.

Dunedin, being one of our main population centres, is neither remote nor of minimal population and so does not fit either of these categories.

Moving neurosurgery services to Christchurch will absolutely put patients' lives at risk, and that is simply not an acceptable outcome for the New Zealand that I wish to live in.

It is time for Government to show some spine and act for the good of the people. Dunedin must retain its full spectrum of services.

Online petition

Elizabeth Jenkins,

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Jack Montgomerie, North Dunedin, Dunedin.
It is brain surgery, but the decision to keep it isn't!

I neglected to mention...

One thing I should have emphasised in my previous posting, is that this case is not one of two centres scrambling to compete for for a 'new' service; it is the emasculation of a unit with a long track record of success and dedication to its cause.

Apart from the staff issue, all other parts of the infrastructure would appear to be in place. It is two surgeons, and the salaries to keep them gainfully employed, which will be absent, if the Commission of Inquiry gives-in to Canterbury interests.

I suffered irreversible, but not life-threatening, brain damage due to a delay of 12 critical days at the outset of my 'problem', while our country GP, a World-War One veteran well into his seventies but still practising, visited me daily telling me I should 'snap out of it'. Most reassuring, I don't think, to someone who had suffered a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage.

Thanks to that delay my hearing in one ear 'went' and didn't return, finally, along with everything else. That should illustrate why the earliest possible intervention is vital.

And, just while we are on the job, might we ask for the substantial slice of North Otago annexed by the Ellwood Commission in favour of Canterbury a few years ago, to be returned? You remember that Commission, surely; so weighted in favour of Canterbury interests that, if my memory serves me correctly, it included Vicki Buck, the (then) sitting Mayor of Christchurch, as a supposedly 'independent' Commissioner.

A hospital insider who was a close friend, told me back in the 1970s that when Dr Bishara finally retired 'they' (The North Canterbury District Health Board or its successor), would be back, so the latest political maneouvrings come as no great surprise.

Like father, like son

If the son is the DCC in this similie, the father is the current Government, with a totally reversed sense of priority. They threw $20 million of taxpayer dosh at the waste of time and money that is Fubar stadium, but when it comes to dire health issues, the attitude seems to be "who cares?"

Long lists for colonoscopies, hip transplants, you name it; and now brain surgery is at risk in a hospital board already struggling after the Swann fraud.

But who cares about such necessities when you have another stadium in the city? After all, the local and nationwide decisionmakers who allocate taxpayers' money can afford private healthcare if they need it.

Last I knew, taxpayers money was meant to be used on... ummm, taxpayers.

As an ex-patient...

During the latter half of 1960, I spent more than three months in the old Ward Four of Dunedin Public Hospital completely paralysed down the left-hand side of my body by a mystery illness, from which I finally escaped surgical intervention by inexplicably showing signs of some recovery just two days out from a scheduled 'op'.

Believe me, if there is anything worse than neurosurgery, it is surgery delayed, especially while the diagnostic procedures - then the best on offer - were being carried out at frequent intervals.

Which is why I got right behind the Cat ccanner appeal when then Minister of Health George Gair decreed, from the safety of his office in Wellington, that his (National) Government of the day wouldn't contemplete covering the running-costs of a scanner, even after the money had been publicly subscribed to buy one, something like 30 years ago.

We are, once again, up against a combination of likely Government intransigence and the historic ambition of the North Canterbury District Health Board (if that is what it still calls itself), to achieve a Medical school for Christchurch, by having the Otago University Medical School driven into decline by suffering the 'Death of a Thousand Cuts' due to the lack of Government funding.

For that, and many other reasons, all of them valid, centralisation of neurosurgical services to Christchurch, by games of medical politics and for purposes of 'empire-building' must be ferociously resisted.


Mike Reeve, Macandrew Bay, Dunedin

Neurosurgery in Dunedin

Keep this critical service in Dunedin!

OUSA wants to keep Neurosurgery In Dunedin

Neurosurgery services are really important to all OUSA members/students.
We don't want this service to be taken to Christchurch and we don't want our Medical School to be devalued.
We are committed to mobilising all students to campaign against this change.
We see this is one of many attacks to Education and Health.
Keep neurosurgery in Dunedin.
Harriet Geoghegan
OUSA President

Keep neurosurgery in Dunedin

People's lives and quality of life are at stake. We need this service.

Neurosurgery services

For logistical, diagnostic and moral reasons I believe it is essential that neurosurgery services be retained at Dunedin Hospital.

This is primarily a regional issue but also, to me, a national concern for all New Zealanders to consider. Dunedin Hospital services premium tourism destinations which, as we all know, focus enormously on adventure and outdoor pursuits. We cannot place residents and visitor in such grave danger if we are still to consider ourselves a country which provides equitable health services to all it's citizens.

Personally, I have a family member who suffered an anuerysm while visiting our region and would not be alive today if there was no neurosurgery available at  Dunedin Hospital.

United we can stand on this - I say galvanise support from wherever and whoever has any awareness of the seriousness of this issue. We need to be heard nationally on this and we need to use a nationally inclusive voice to do so.

There are too many examples in political history where it suits those advocating funding changes if regional issues become isolated rather than a national concern - consider the old adage 'divide and rule'. Unfortunately this is already happening with regional competition for funding allocation between hospitals, which is precisely why I stress we need to use national voice as well as regional voice to retain these services.

Online Petition

Vaughn Malkin, Dalmore.
This is truely an appalling thought. We should fight hard to retain this service here. There are enough delays and compromises in our healthcare as it is.

Online petition

Matthew Francis Downes, Normanby, Dunedin.

Otago/Southland needs this service retained.

The Minister will have too many deaths on his hands if this service is only available in Christchurch. The South Island is geographically too spread out to be covered by a single unit.

Dunedin Neurosurgery Unit

Like nqkiwi, I am also originally from Dunedin and currently living in Australia, although I'm in a major city. I still have family in Otago.
To even suggest that patients should have to travel to Christchurch from the Otago/Southland area for neurosurgery is just absurd. How on earth can a delay in treatment be a good thing, particularly in cases of brain or spinal cord injuries? This service must stay in Dunedin.

Help save Neurosurgery

The neurosurgery unit must be kept as a part of the Southern region's ability to care for the people that live here.
That is the purpose of a health system.


Keep the neurosurgery unit

It's a no-brainer.

Keep neurosurgery in Dunedin

Keep neurosurgery in Dunedin

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