Hospital rebuild meeting pointless, Benson-Pope says

David Benson-Pope.
David Benson-Pope.
The Dunedin Hospital rebuild group had little to impart except ''drivel'' and ''jargon'' at Tuesday's public meeting, and should not have called it if there was nothing to say.

That is the view of Dunedin city councillor David Benson-Pope, who was frustrated by the lack of specifics and clear answers.

''They had nothing to say, and they took 45 minutes to do it.

''I don't think it's especially productive to call a meeting to tell people you haven't got anything to tell them.''

Cr Benson-Pope is spearheading the council's push for a central city rebuild. Shifting the main site to Wakari Hospital or another out-of-the-way place would be a major economic blow to Dunedin, he said.

Speeches at the meeting by rebuild chairman Andrew Blair and Southern District Health Board bosses Chris Fleming and Kathy Grant focused heavily on health trends and what the future might hold.

Cr Benson-Pope was not impressed.

''Whatever happens, we are going to require operating theatres and emergency departments and the rest of it,'' he said.

''Frankly, I think people are past jargon.

''It's all drivel. People just need to confront the issues.

''Let's get real, and get on with it, rather than going around in circles,'' Cr Benson-Pope said.

Responding yesterday, Mr Blair, of Hawke's Bay, said he believed the meeting was a
success.

''I think people did go away with a greater understanding of the challenges of designing a hospital for the future and the process we are going through.

''I can't tell them what I don't know.''

Mr Blair said many audience members were more interested in making statements than asking questions.

''I left thinking there weren't many questions ... so we'd actually done an OK job.''

Speeches lasted 45 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of audience participation.

Mr Blair spoke to hospital staff earlier and acknowledged the poor state of the existing facilities.

''I congratulated them on their tolerance, and being willing to find work-arounds and work in the best interests of the patients in facilities that are not ideal by any stretch of the imagination.

''I hope I said it [on Tuesday] to the public . . . it's not good enough, and we want to do something better, and thank you for putting up with what you've got.

''No-one is happy that there's leaks, or there's asbestos, or there's areas that are cordoned off.''

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull declined to be interviewed, but released a statement reiterating the council's position that the hospital must be rebuilt in the central city.

Mr Cull has written to Prime Minister Bill English stating the council's view on the location and expressing concern about delays in the project.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

Comments

Three great outcomes came from the meeting: The spongers got to claim another days pay for doing nothing but talk; They got to tick off the box that says public should be kept informed; They managed to delay any real announcement until after the election. Only then will Dunedin be told how badly we will be ripped off.

I totally agree. This was a PR exercise and it wasn't enlightening. Waste of time and resources but it probably made the SDHB crew feel like they were consulting people.

I hate to tell you you in the end will get very little regards a hospital .The same thing happened in greymouth... What you will get is lots of DHB spin. and a small hospital .and a decline in services.

But, that's not acceptable to the public.