Hospital repair costs could reach $50m

Throwing good money after bad on the clinical services building at Dunedin Hospital does not make sense and the rebuild should be sped up, Southern District Health Board member Dr John Chambers says.

A 10-year informal estimate for the rebuild seems ''extremely long'' to him.

It has been revealed in a new assessment the beleaguered clinical services building could need up to $50 million of repairs to keep it operational for another 10 years.

The board also faces hefty repair and refurbishment bills for other buildings on the Dunedin Hospital campus.

The assessment is outlined in a report to board members today at a hospital committee meeting in Invercargill.

The matter is expected to spark discussion among committee members about the merits of spending so much money on a building that will be replaced in a few years.

The report recommends ''prioritising'' the creation of a business case for the rebuild, but what that could mean is unclear.

Dr Chambers told the Otago Daily Times a maximum of five years seemed reasonable and he could not understand why the indicative time frame was twice that.

''It's essential. It's a matter of utmost importance that we get this sorted out.

''Clearly, money is going to have to be spent on keeping the place working in the interim. But you don't want to keep throwing good money after bad.''

The staff report recommends board members agree to limit capital spending on the building to urgent work only.

It also recommends board members ''support the prioritising of work on a business case for the Dunedin campus in collaboration with the National Health Board''.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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