Lease agreement sought

The Southern District Health Board wants the University of Otago to sign a lease for the use of space in the Dunedin Hospital complex.

Chief executive Carole Heatly told the Otago Daily Times yesterday the board sought the ability to obtain ''market value rents'' from the university.

The board, which is under pressure to upgrade the hospital, has no formal lease with the university, which uses about 20% of the hospital and associated buildings. The university paid 20% of the cost of the hospital ward block development, more than 30 years ago.

''There have been numerous historical discussions on this topic without resolution.

''There is no lease agreement despite past efforts to formalise the relationship,'' the chief executive's report to board members said.

The report said the university had agreed to ''consider'' formalising the relationship.

Ms Heatly told board members the health board had a strong relationship with the academic side of the university, but not with the business side.

Ms Heatly told the ODT significant time had passed since the university's contribution to the building project.

The relationship between the two institutions needed to be ''equal and fair'', she said.

The university declined to comment on the matter yesterday.

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