Proposed hospital buildings shrinking

The new Dunedin Hospital will still be a two-building development, but the buildings’ size will likely be much smaller than originally planned.

Southern Partnership Group chairman Pete Hodgson confirmed yesterday that planners had considered but rejected scaling the $1.4billion project back to a single building from the two central city buildings comprising 105,000sq m announced last year.

"We tried reconfiguring buildings to see whether or not we could make useful savings by doing this or that and certainly you can, but there are always trade-offs," Mr Hodgson said.

"We did consider one building; we had one building on the Wilson site, we had one building on the Cadbury site, we had all manner of configurations and went back and forth over that ... but we ended up deciding to go with what we started with, which was buildings on the north and south sites."

However, those buildings are likely to be smaller than was hoped.

Total floor area for the hospital buildings had fluctuated between 76,000sq m and 125,000sq m, but would now "be in the order of 89,000sq m," Mr Hodgson said.

"We have had two large balloons and contractions in the size of the building ... and I’m assured that is what happens in a building project of this size."

The Otago Daily Times understands clinicians rebelled at the idea of reducing the new hospital to a single building, and told planners they had no confidence in the design process.

A building of about 89,000sq m would be "not fit for purpose from the day it opens", a clinician said.

This is not the first time senior medical staff have questioned the direction of the keenly anticipated hospital build. In October, speaking under condition of anonymity, several told the ODT they feared some vital services would be cut from the new hospital due to budget constraints.

Mr Hodgson said he was confident the new hospital would be fit for purpose.

Mr Hodgson said he was "quite confident" that the new hospital would have sufficient floor space.

"I have no doubt that we will have ourselves a hospital that will be a thoroughly adequate facility for decades to come."

There would be a "significant" increase from the current number of surgical theatres, and a slight increase in the number of beds, he said.

The Covid-19 pandemic had halted demolition work on the Cadbury site and meant clinicians were unavailable for consultation on hospital planning, Mr Hodgson said.

"There are some good things though, and the delay means planners have been able to put renewed effort into the little building, inspired by the fact the Government is trying to get some projects shovel-ready.

"I don’t imagine it will be ready to go in 6-12 months, but it could easily be part of the economic recovery of this locality."

Lessons learned from the pandemic could also change some decisions which had already been made, Mr Hodgson said.

Nothing can be built before Cabinet considers and signs off on the detailed business case for the new hospital — a document which is unfinished, and was due to go before Cabinet last month.

Mr Hodgson said he hoped Cabinet could deliberate on the plan before the September general election.

"It has to go through a series of consultations and we are on track for them to do that at the moment, but one thing that could knock us would be if Covid-19 took off on us and caused mayhem."

Health Minister David Clark said through a spokesman that he would not comment on the operational decisions concerning the design process for the hospital.


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This is a joke. Why don’t they just refurbish the current hospital and not build a new one, No one ever thinks of the future demands, just current or past demands. Come on mayor Dunedin, fight for us and our future. We need this hospital built and fit for purpose for the future.

Arron could'nt fight his way out of a wet paper bag Happy,why don't ask the real mayor David Benson Pope.

Refurbishing the current hospital is the very definition of not considering the future needs. Dumb idea.

Mayor? He is one of those who was lobbying most central city rebuild which is the reason why they stuck with 'uniformly bad' piece of land. It's all easily solvable if building site relocated to a larger and better land (e.g. ex-Carisbrook which is still close to the centre) but doing that means political bankruptcy for them.
No, DCC won't help, they're the obstacle as a matter of fact.

Or maybe just relocate the helicopter pad to the Cadbury site so that they can finally start repairing the damaged roof of the hospital.

Someone isn't telling the public the truth.
No business builds a building then decides how to fit their business into it. No, first off the functions to be performed are determined then the number of people, specialist spaces and that all determines how big the building(s) need to be.

So, there are two options. Either the so called partnership group are totally inept and have been wasting the past few months. Or, someone has decided what services Dunedin hospital will be delivering and the result is the hospital needs to be far smaller than first suggested.

So come on, tell us what services Dunedin will get locally and what services locals will have to travel to Auckland or elsewhere for.

"We have had two large balloons and contractions in the size of the building ... and I’m assured that is what happens in a building project of this size."
No !!! This is what happens when you DO NOT do due diligence before you select the site.
You should have done your Geotech survey before buying.
This is what happens when politicians act as project managers and not clients.
Pete Hodgson should be coordination the clinical requirements, as the clients representative, nothing more.
The new hospital should be seen as a national resource not a DHB one.
The extra beds could come from the refurbishment of existing buildings such as hotels that will be sitting idle for considerable time to come, and additional surgical facilities created to reduce the strain on other DHB's around the country, boasting the mana of our medical, nursing and dental schools.
Wake up Hodgson. You're not seeing the forest because you're bogged down examining each tree.

What happens when practical public service delivery decisions are made politically, not strategically. During the election, Labour promised Dunedin the earth, to a large extent because of the DCC's STUPID 'Save our Site/Services' political campaign, something that should never have been initiated and funded by a city council. (And services were never under threat so that was just scare tactics.) Then the Labour-led government finds 1) they don't have the money 2) the central city site is an unnecessarily expensive nightmare. And, now, in the light of the pandemic, there will be even less money and possibly greater need. The decision should have been left to the Ministry of Health professionals properly qualified to make it, without meddling by local government amateurs, like Cr Benson-Pope and former Cr Hawkins who led the campaign.

On the surface, it seems a short-term decision which will, in a few years, backfire at a greater cost to all concerned than the original plan was. Then, who will we blame...?

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