Hospital group cost for 18 days: $21,400

The group overseeing the delay-plagued Dunedin Hospital rebuild has run up more than $21,400 in fees and expenses for a combined total of 18 days' work.

Figures released by the Ministry of Health cover the Southern Partnership Group's first few months' oversight of the project.

Appointed in September, the group had charged a combined total of 18 days, incurring $16,225 in fees, $4206 in flights and accommodation, and $1021 for taxis, parking and mileage, based on invoices to March 7.

The group has five members, but one of them was not appointed until December.

Chairman Andrew Blair, of Hawkes Bay, said when contacted the group's work would increase as the project progressed.

For now, much activity was under way beneath governance level.

Mr Blair receives $1000 per day, and billed for 8.75 days. Other members get $800 per day, and in one case billed for only 1.84 days.

The group has been charged by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman with speeding up the project, but Mr Blair said he still had ‘‘no options'' to report in that regard.

Speeding up the project carried risk and needed to be carefully considered, but he was aware of community concern about the past delays.

An Australasian consultancy called Sapere Research Group was running sessions with staff and ‘‘stakeholders'' in the region to devise a ‘‘strategic service plan'' for the project.

Health board staff had been assigned work around financial modelling for a new or rebuilt hospital, he said.

Mr Blair said his actual fees would be higher as he had not submitted his February invoices yet.

A report on the Ministry of Health's website about the project says the clinical services building does not meet the standards for electrical wiring and protection of patient treatment areas, nor for infection control and management of dirty laundry, while the Fraser Building needs a new roof.

The planning process was granted $1.6 million last October to last until June this year. More money would be allocated for 2016-17 to cover project costs.

Only one member of the partnership group, Richard Thomson, lives in Otago. The other four live in the North Island.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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