A building at Dunedin Hospital deteriorated more quickly
than anyone expected, Southern District Health Board chairman
Joe Butterfield says.
Under pressure last week because of national media coverage
about leaks in the surgical theatre suite, Health Minister
Tony Ryall confirmed last Wednesday night the Cabinet was
expected to consider a business case for the project next
Mr Butterfield said the leaks affecting the surgical theatre
suite would be fixed, and the job was unaffected by the wait
for confirmation of the rebuilding.
''The problem is that the building is old, and is starting to
deteriorate more quickly I think than probably we had hoped
Asked if the board had been scrimping on maintenance to
reduce its deficit, Mr Butterfield indicated the issue was
not relevant, because of the scale of the work required.
''People think that, and there's some truth in it, but on the
other hand: what is repairs and maintenance? ''The repairs
and maintenance that would be needed to fix that building is
probably as much as it would cost to build a new one.''
Board management said it expected a builders' report by the
end of this week about the leaks. Parts of the suite were
drenched in heavy rain last month, desterilising some
equipment and disrupting some services.
Management also clarified a report of a lift ''free falling''
five flights in Dunedin Hospital. Finance director Peter
Beirne said the lift, which carried a passenger, had failed
to stop at designated floors, the reason for which was
It was not a free fall. Information released under the
Official Information Act to the Labour Party disclosed the
incident, which was described as a free fall in the document.
Chief executive Carole Heatly said management hoped health
board members could approve a business case in February.
The process was complex, because it involved a detailed
assessment of future health needs before signing off the
project. The cost of the project has not been determined.
Officials from Treasury and the National Health Board would
visit Dunedin today to discuss the project.
Mr Beirne said he was pleased with the situation.
''I couldn't be happier about where we are at the moment ...
it's a really positive process to be in for Southern at the
Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive
director Ian Powell said in a statement Dunedin Hospital had
been allowed to become run down.
''Rebuilding the hospital is well overdue, and we'd like to
see a real commitment to this project from the Government.
''Patients deserve better facilities and so do the senior
doctors and other staff working at the hospital, so we're
urging the Government to make a decision as soon as
New Zealand Nurses Organisation organiser Lorraine Lobb said
she was pleased the rebuild was a step closer, but an
immediate fix was needed for the leaking surgical theatre.