Neurosurgeons bid supported

Peter Chin
Peter Chin
Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin says he has his "loins girded" and is ready to advocate for retention of neurosurgeons in Dunedin should that prove necessary.

He told the Otago Daily Times yesterday he was keeping a close eye on the issue and had informed the Otago and Southland district health boards' chief executive, Brian Rousseau, he shared the boards' view on the matter.

Neurosurgery services in the South are under consideration by all six South Island district health boards, which have agreed there should be a regional service and that it should employ six neurosurgeons.

To date the boards have been unable to agree whether all six should be located in Christchurch or two should be resident in Dunedin.

Otago and Southland boards are adamant that Dunedin should continue to have neurosurgeons for the safety of patients, the status of Dunedin Hospital and the good of the Dunedin School of Medicine and its training programme in the long term.

Under the existing arrangements, the Otago and Canterbury boards each have a service.

Mr Chin said he hoped ongoing discussions on the issue due to take place in Dunedin soon would lead to a solution that was in the best interests of everybody in the city.

The date for the Dunedin discussions has not been announced yet, nor is it clear yet who will attend.

After the boards' failure to reach agreement last week, lead chief executive for South Island health services planning Chris Fleming (South Canterbury) indicated the meeting would include representatives of the Dunedin School of Medicine, some senior clinicians, board representatives and consultant Dr Ian Brown, of Nelson, who was commissioned to write an independent report on the matter.

Mr Fleming said the Dunedin meeting would be designed to provide clarity around some of the issues, including the financial implications of the options.

Financial matters were not the focus of discussions a week ago,Mr Fleming confirmed this week the final report to board representatives would include financial implications.

The service in Dunedin is being served by locums, but it is understood there are specialists interested in coming to the city permanently who are awaiting the outcome of the boards' deliberations on the future of the service.

Earlier this week Dunedin-based National list MP Michael Woodhouse, a former chief executive of Mercy Hospital, and former Labour health minister and MP for Dunedin North Pete Hodgson both expressed strong support for resident neurosurgeons in Dunedin.



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