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Approval for the Southern District Health Board's district annual plan means building work should soon begin on the relocation of Dunedin Hospital's acute mental health ward to Wakari Hospital.
In June, Health Minister Tony Ryall announced $24.38 million for the first part of the board's master site project for the two hospitals, which is designed to upgrade substandard facilities and make the most of the available space.
Projects to be covered by this money included the relocation of the mental health ward, the redevelopment of the neonatal intensive care unit and the paediatric ward, upgrading the Dunedin Hospital generators and shifting the Dunedin Hospital cafeteria.
The $3.609 million mental health ward relocation is the most far advanced of these projects, and it is understood a contractor is ready to proceed, but the board's annual plan had to be approved by Mr Ryall before money could be released.
The plan was approved on November 9 and final approval could be given early next month.