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The Southern District Health Board has approved a $1.75 million repair job to fix Dunedin Hospital's seven-storey clinical services building.
Staff have estimated the repairs, which involve permanently sealing windows to prevent leaks, will extend the life of the building by up to 10 years.
The big rebuild of Dunedin Hospital is estimated to be about seven years away, and the repairs are designed to ensure the building lasts until then.
''We began the work last month and now have the go-ahead to complete the project,'' board chief executive Carole Heatly said in a statement after the meeting.
The repairs involve extensive scaffolding and should be finished by the end of the year.
Board members discussed the project at their meeting in Dunedin yesterday, but waited until after the public was excluded for detailed discussion and the decision.
''It involves sealing exterior cladding, windows and parts of the roof, to ensure the building's exterior is watertight.
''After recent issues with spot leaks around the building, including in the area outside theatres, it is essential for our staff and patients that this work be completed,'' Ms Heatly said.
At the board meeting, member Richard Thomson questioned whether the building could not last a lot longer if more money was spent.
Decisions about rebuilding or repairing the hospital were important because the costs affected funding available for services, he said.
Finance director Peter Beirne said the ''working scenario'' was that the clinical services building was nearing the end of its useful life, although its long-term future was undecided.
The cost of fully repairing the building would outstrip the value it would add to the building, he said.
Chairman Joe Butterfield said the $1.75 million would fix the outside of the building, but not the inside. Mr Butterfield was keen for most of the discussion to be in the public-excluded part of the meeting.
The board was yet to work through funding issues, Ms Heatly's statement said.
The Otago Daily Times approached Health Minister Tony Ryall this week to ask whether the board would receive extra money for the repairs.
''No - funding for Southern DHB has increased by $124 million since we became Government,'' the one-line response from Mr Ryall said.