The Southern District Health Board has gone back to the
drawing board again on plans to provide long-awaited additional
endoscopy facilities at Dunedin Hospital.
It is rethinking a project announced in June to develop a
second gastrointestinal facility in 2014.
Costing up to $2.5 million, the facility would be located in
the children's ward, which is set to move from the paediatric
pavilion to the main hospital. It follows a failed
partnership attempt with the University of Otago for a $5
million facility that was shelved earlier this year. In an
email the board released under the Official Information Act
earlier this year, Emeritus Prof Gil Barbezat said the
current facility had been ''inadequate and unsafe for nearly
In Saturday's Otago Daily Times, Prof Barbezat said in a
letter to the editor that Dunedin had only one endoscopy room
for upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy, despite the
South having the highest rate of bowel cancer in the world.
Most other major centres in New Zealand now had four rooms
for endoscopy, he said.
Newly appointed surgical medical director Murray Fosbender
said in an email the arrival of new gastroenterology clinical
leader Dr Jason Hill in October prompted a review of the
gastroenterology service, including the proposed new
''The previous facilities plan mentioned is still a
possibility, but first we want to ensure that it is the best
option before investing in it. The capital allocation will be
decided at this time,'' Mr Fosbender said.
''We are confident that we have the facilities we require at
the moment but need to ensure that we plan for increasing
However, the National Health Board review of Dunedin Hospital
last year, prompted in part by lack of access to colonoscopy,
identified more than just capacity issues.
The report described the eighth-floor endoscopy facility as
poor, not conducive to good and safe clinical practice, and
having a risk of infection, a lack of timely access and lack
of patient privacy. Mr Fosbender did not respond to email
requests for further information.
In June, then gastroenterology clinical leader Prof John
McCall said the new facility would have two outpatient
endoscopy procedure rooms. It would complement the existing
eighth-floor facility, which would be able to focus on
inpatients and complex procedures.