Outgoing Health Minister Tony Ryall dropped his strongest
hint yet of when a major upgrade of Dunedin Hospital could be
''I expect Cabinet will consider a business case next year
and an announcement would be made then,'' Mr Ryall said last
Ministry of Health and Treasury officials had been working
with the Southern District Health Board to develop a business
case, he said. Upgrading Dunedin Hospital was ''one of our
next projects'', following upgrades of hospitals in
Canterbury and the West Coast.
Last month, the Otago Daily Times reported on water leaks in
the hospital's surgical theatre which had desterilised
Labour health spokeswoman Annette King told the ODT, ''Why
has the hospital at our pre-eminent medical school been left
to get into this state?''
Is it that the DHB has to cut services until it gets rid of
its persistent deficit as [Mr Ryall] is demanding, before the
region gets a reprieve?''
Mr Ryall responded: ''Annette King's comments don't deserve a
response as she was minister for most of the 2000s when the
Government had lots of money but didn't spend anything on
He said the Government had already spent $24 million on
projects, such as the recently opened neonatal care unit.
Asked if patients or staff had been put at risk due to the
state of the hospital, he replied: ''The Government is
confident that the hospital staff are providing a quality
service and the hospital is safe. We've invested in extra
doctors and nurses and the buildings are next.''
An Official Information Act request by Ms King revealed there
had been major equipment failures, including power outages to
wards and an incident this year of a public ward block lift
''free falling'' five floors.
''The people of Otago, along with hospital staff, have put up
with a building that's unfit for purpose for too long.''
SDHB chief executive Carole Heatly said: ''We are working
through a process to determine what new facilities are
required with the National Health Board and the Capital
Investment Committee and are very pleased with how this is