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Debate on the size of the new Dunedin Hospital and the services it will offer reaches a decision point today, when planners will affirm or alter the project’s master site plan.

The plan, which sets out the positioning of buildings on the central city site, was due to be released today.

However, there has been unease for months among clinicians about whether the design and function of the new hospital reflect what they feel is needed for staff and patients.

In October, sources told the Otago Daily Times they were worried important services could be left out of the buildings due to cost.

Southern Partnership Group convener Pete Hodgson said today’s meeting would discuss whether to progress and publicly release the current master site plan, or "reset" it and reconsider the design work to date.

"There is a thing called the schedule of accommodation which sets out how much of what is in various buildings — how many beds, how many surgical theatres, en suites or whatever — and that has been gone through in recent months and is very close to being finalised," Mr Hodgson said.

"I think we will get a clear decision, but it’s not certain."

Demolition for the first stage of the project, the outpatient and day surgery building, is due to start in March.

Even if the master plan was reset, the firm awarded the demolition contract would be able to proceed on schedule, Mr Hodgson said.

"The demolition will go ahead as planned because we are starting in the bits we know we will need."

Earlier this year, he confirmed the design for the hospital was being revisited, and budget concerns meant the buildings would be smaller than anticipated.

The original plan proposed a 105,000sqm hospital.

It would now be smaller, but still bigger than the current 63,000sqm hospital.

Progress has been further complicated by geotechnical testing, which suggested foundation work would be more expensive than anticipated.

The next stage of business planning — the detailed business case (DBC) — was due to be finished in March, and was on track Mr Hodgson said.

"There is one piece of work we still have to do, which is to review the master programme, and that will include a review of any adjustments to the DBC and whether it will go forward to Cabinet in March or not or whether we need to add a month on or whatever.

"We are not going to be ahead of time on that, but it is not yet clear to be if we are going to be behind time."

The first part of the new
hospital is scheduled to open in 2024 with the second building opening four years later.



This is stupid, downsizing because of costs.

Unless they downsize in such a way that it'll be easy to 'upsize' later on as the need requires, then they are making a huge mistake. You get what you pay for, so find the money and do it right the first time.



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