No rush to shift oncology centre to new hospital site

The oncology centre may not move to the new Dunedin Hospital site until after the hospital is...
The oncology centre may not move to the new Dunedin Hospital site until after the hospital is built. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
One building at the Dunedin Hospital will stay where it is for the time being as the equipment within comes to the end of its working life.

The oncology centre on the corner of Hanover and Cumberland Sts, and its three linear accelerator radiation therapy treatment machines, may end up in an area dubbed on the map of the new hospital"future spaces" on the corner of Hanover and Castle Sts.

That is likely to be after the rest of the new hospital is built.

In the interim, patients in the new hospital who need radiation therapy will have to be transported by ambulance a couple of hundred metres down the road.

In his announcement last week confirming the main inpatient block of the new Dunedin Hospital would be built on the former Cadbury factory site, Southern Partnership Group chairman Pete Hodgson referred to the spaces - where VTNZ and the University of Otago Te Rangi Hiroa College are - as ones that would allow for expansion and relocation.

The inpatient building was due to be completed by November 2028.

The southern blood and cancer service in the oncology services building would "remain on its current site, probably until the linear accelerators used for radiotherapy come up for replacement".

"At that point it would make sense to construct facilities on the new site.

"In the interim, parts of the site may well be used as lay-down areas for construction."

Mr Hodgson said the need to move patients across State Highway 1 should not be a problem. "Nearly all" cancer patients were not inpatients, but those who needed to cross from the new hospital to the radiotherapy unit would be taken by ambulance.

"It would be a few transfers a week. It wouldn't be a large volume."

The Southern District Health Board said yesterday the linear accelerators were projected to be up for replacement in 2023, 2028 and 2029.

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