Hospital rebuild group formation pleases MP

The Ministry of Health is forming a group, to include The Treasury, which will plan the rebuild of the Dunedin Hospital clinical services building.

The chief executive's report to today's Southern District Health Board meeting says the membership of the ''partnership group'' will be confirmed next month.

A social media campaign recently emerged pushing the Government to approve the rebuild, which is expected to cost upwards of $200 million.

''This will allow us to proceed with the planning and confirmation of time frames for this work.

''It is estimated to take [seven to eight] years from planning commencement until the project is completed and handed over.

''This timeframe will be confirmed when the partnership group is in place,'' Carole Heatly's report to board members said.

The report gives further details of the separate $25 million plan to upgrade other parts of the hospital campus, which emerged last week.

As well as a new intensive care unit and gastroenterology unit, the audiology department will be upgraded, and the emergency psychiatric service shifted from Dunedin Hospital to Wakari Hospital.

In July, the Government is expected to decide whether to approve the work.

Dunedin North MP David Clark, a critic of the apparent lack of progress on planning the rebuild, was pleased to hear about the partnership group and indicative time frame.

The Labour MP has organised an online petition urging Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to take action on the rebuild.

It had collected more than 1500 signatures since starting last Saturday.

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