Hospital leaks 'ongoing' problem

Leaks in Dunedin Hospital's operating theatre suite are an ongoing maintenance problem, the Southern District Health Board said yesterday.

The problem was highlighted at a public meeting hosted by Labour MPs last Friday in Dunedin.

This week, patient services director Lexie O'Shea told the Otago Daily Times the board had fixed leaks, and was monitoring the trouble spot.

''We have worked to ensure that any issues with leaks have been addressed. This has included replacing window seals and roof flashing when issues were raised.

"We are continuing to keep an eye on the problem and will undertake further maintenance as required. There is no electrical safety risk,'' she said on Monday.

Yesterday, the Otago Daily Times learned the suite was leaking in two places: near an operating theatre, and in a sterile supply unit.

In response, Steve Addison, communications director, said yesterday's ''very wet weather'' caused ''some issues with leaking'', which would be repaired.

The leaks were an ongoing maintenance problem, he said.

Dunedin North MP David Clark said the leaking theatre suite was indicative of the failure to invest in Dunedin Hospital.

The same lack of investment probably contributed to last week's IT crash, he said.

Dr Clark said he had been shocked to hear at Friday's meeting about the leaks.

Staff had approached him immediately after the meeting to say they were scared to speak during the public event because of Dunedin Hospital's ''culture of fear'', he said.

''Tight political management'' was being used to keep a lid on issues at the hospital, but it was not working, he said.

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