Hospital leaks worse than stated

Water ran down walls in two of Dunedin Hospital's operating theatres after Monday's thunderstorm, Parliament's health select committee heard yesterday.

Southern District Health Board chiefs were in Wellington for an annual review, and Dunedin North MP David Clark asked them about Monday's thunderstorm.

On the day itself, the board played down the problem, saying water had entered in only a couple of places, near radiology, and a plant room.

However, yesterday, board heads admitted to MPs the leaks were more widespread, including water having run down walls in two surgical theatres.

In a response to the Otago Daily Times yesterday, chief executive Chris Fleming said it was fortunate the last of the day's elective surgery was being completed when the storm struck at 3.30pm.

''As we had other theatres available that weren't affected, we were able to use one of those for remaining acute ... surgeries that evening.

''No theatres were damaged by the leaks, and there was no risk to patients at any time.

''With regard to the emergency department, there was no flooding. While there was a leak, it was easily managed.''

Three anaesthetic bays and corridors in the sterile services area were also affected.

Hail had blocked stormwater drains in the clinical services building. Mr Fleming said weather-tightening work on the clinical services building had helped, as the damage could have been worse.

In 2014, persistent leaks in the theatre suite prompted the board to approve a $1.75million fix-up job.

Mr Fleming was joined at the committee yesterday by commissioner Kathy Grant, chief medical officer Nigel Millar, and chief operating officer Lexie O'Shea.


Ohhh kay. Water running into theatres, dripping into theatres, leaching into theatres means one thing: infection risk. It would be interesting to see if post operative infection rates were higher in the leaky theatres, although I suspect the DHB has its head in the sand about this. Would the government and our DHB kindly stop with the politics and get on with sorting this out?

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