Hospital dates out to 2031

A significant delay revealed in the Dunedin Hospital rebuild sets completion back to 2031 in the worst-case scenario. The best-case scenario is now 2027.

David Clark
David Clark

Dunedin North MP David Clark said the dates appear in the rebuild business case going to Cabinet next month.

The Otago Daily Times has confirmed Dr Clark's information with contacts who are familiar with the situation but who are not authorised to speak publicly.

The three scenarios in the rebuild document are said to be: part rebuild and part refurbishment on existing site (2031 completion); total rebuild on nearby site (2027 completion); total rebuild on another hospital site (2027 completion, probably refers to Wakari Hospital).

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Jonathan Coleman declined to comment, calling the new information ''rumours''.

The current official timeframe has completion at 2022 to 2025.

It is understood the 2031 option could make the existing campus a building site for about 10 years, posing major logistical issues. That option entails refurbishing the ward block and rebuilding the clinical services building.

A recent building report on the ward block is understood to have revealed the extent of its problems.

For months, the Ministry of Health and rebuild spokesman Andrew Blair have both refused to discuss the implications of the growing scale of the project.

Yesterday, Mr Blair would not discuss timeframes but released a statement emphasising the complexity.

''This hasn't been a straight- forward business case, including deciding whether the ward block can be refurbished.

''We have had to explore whether we can rebuild on the current or an adjacent site or whether we should build somewhere else in Dunedin city or at Wakari.

''Some of these options would, if decided on, cost more and take longer to complete.''

 Kathy Grant
Kathy Grant

Dr Clark said the Southern District Health Board's involvement in the rebuild was too limited, and the ministry had too much say.

''This should be a locally-driven process. It's really important the voice of the South is strong in the discussions.

''[It should not be] a Wellington-driven penny-pinching project on the never-never.''

Repeated delays to project timeframes over the years were unacceptable, Dr Clark said.

He understood significant tensions had developed between the various parties.

The state of the existing hospital was ''parlous'', he said.

An official assessment last year said the hospital buildings were at risk of failure.

''The buildings are crumbling and throwing up constant issues.

''The key risk is the potential for either the emergence or discovery of a significant defect in the condition of the building that necessitates part or total closure of the building for the purpose of providing clinical services,'' the assessment said.

SDHB commissioner Kathy Grant said the condition of the clinical services building in particular was an important consideration.

She would not be drawn on the new timeframes.

''From my perspective it would be better to defer that discussion until such time that the indicative business case was in the public domain.

''The comment that I would make is that you can be assured that the state of the clinical services building and the challenge of ensuring the continuity of services in that building is very much in the forefront of my mind,'' she said.

The ODT has previously revealed the cost of the project is likely to top $1 billion, far higher than the official estimate of $300 million, released in 2015.



WHAT !?! Many of us will be long dead by then. Change the government and David Clark as Minister of Health will get it moving.