Hospital business case expected to go to Cabinet next week

The vital and much delayed detailed business case for the new Dunedin Hospital should be finalised and sent to Cabinet next week.

The plan, which sets out the future shape of the hospital buildings and what services will be provided, was due to be completed in March.

However, objections by some clinicians to both the proposed size of the $1.2billion-$1.4billion facility and the omission of some departments from the new buildings meant drafting the document became a protracted process.

"It is not done yet but it will be, subject to final sign-off by the Southern Partnership Group at a special meeting next Tuesday," group chairman Pete Hodgson said.

"There are some final edits which still need to be checked."

Until the detailed business case is approved by Cabinet the master programme for the building of the new hospital and its milestone dates cannot be finalised.

Hospital planners have already acknowledged that the delay in the business case has put pressure on plans to open new day surgery facilities in November 2023, new outpatient facilities a year later, and the main inpatient block in 2028, although they have said any potential delays would be by months not years.

Mr Hodgson was confident next week’s meeting should be procedural.

"The plan has come together well, but in something of this complexity there will inevitably always be components that are left outstanding," he said.

"This will be a major milestone for the project and is something we are very much looking forward to delivering."

Speaking earlier this week, Health Minister David Clark said he expected that so long as the hospital’s business case was submitted shortly, Cabinet approval was possible before the September election.

The Cabinet Manual notes there is a convention that governments operate "self-imposed restraint" in significant areas for a three-month period before an election, such as significant appointments and advertising campaigns — a period which starts in four weeks.

Other major decisions with potential political ramifications are often referred to the prime minster or the Cabinet office for further consideration before being progressed or paused until after an election.

"There is a determination on my part and on other ministers’ parts that we continue to make progress on this, albeit that Covid-19 did have an impact," Dr Clark said.

"There is a sense of urgency because this is a project that needs to be done, and delays that happened before we got into government mean that the existing hospital is now more challenging to operate in than you would hope."

Assuming the business case is lodged in time and subsequently approved, hospital planners will then draft an implementation business plan, which will detail how the construction of the hospital will be managed.

Comments

Does the business case address the issue of the environmental effect the new building will have regarding mobility around our city?
The site is bang smack right in the middle of our main arterial route through the city!!!
It has SH1 running on both sides !!!!
Does this plan kill any prospect of raising the key components of the design to allow traffic to remain on the Cumberland St one way system with courtyard / walkway over the top ???
Public submissions are still being sought on how our roading system will accommodate this building !!!
We don't want our hand forced because of political decisions driven by Wellington !!!
As usual projects that are driven by politics are piecemeal and are forced on local populations half baked.
Lets NOT make this another Clyde Dam debacle and build over a major 'faultline'.
This hospital should enhance our city NOT cut it in two !!!

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter