DCC launching hospital campaign

The Dunedin Hospital. Photo: ODT.
The Dunedin Hospital. Photo: ODT.
The Dunedin City Council is harnessing people power in a bid to keep Dunedin Hospital in the central city.

It is launching a public campaign today at 12.30pm outside The Fix cafe in Frederick St.

Cr David Benson-Pope said public support was imperative for the campaign to work.

"Given the strength of feeling about this issue over such a long time, I think we can anticipate some pretty overwhelming support for what the council is leading here.

"This is a highly political decision. It will be made ultimately by Cabinet."

More information about how the campaign works would be disclosed today.  It is possible the hospital could be rebuilt in the Wakari Hospital grounds, or a greenfield location. Around August, the Government will tell officials which option or options to focus on ahead of a final sign-off decision next year. Rebuild boss Andrew Blair, of the Southern Partnership Group, said yesterday he was "well aware of the Dunedin City Council’s views".

"By the end of June, we expect to have the indicative business case finalised.  This would identify a small number of options but won’t be site-specific at this stage of the process."

However, Cr Benson-Pope believes the Wakari and greenfield options should be taken off the table this year. The Otago Medical School will be affected if the hospital shifts, with significant effects on teaching and research. When contacted, health sciences pro-vice-chancellor Prof Peter Crampton said the DCC campaign was "democracy at work".

"I think it’s important that the Dunedin public and the community has an opportunity to express its views on this."

Mr Blair, of Hawke’s Bay, was appointed by the Government in 2015 to lead the rebuild.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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