Role's focus on rebuild

The head of finance at Southern District Health Board is switching to a new position focused solely on the Dunedin Hospital rebuild.

The creation of the new position is a sign of progress in the project, for which the board and the Government have been criticised for an apparent lack of urgency.

Peter Beirne will oversee the development of the business case for the $200 million clinical services building, remaining in the position throughout construction, the board said in a statement on Thursday.

He would start the new permanent role, as strategic development director, gradually in the next few weeks.

His current role as head of finance would be filled.

Earlier this week, Dunedin North MP David Clark criticised a lack of progress after a board paper revealed a much slower deadline for project planning than had been anticipated.

Next month, a rebuild ''partnership group'' is expected to be named, including representatives from the Treasury and the Ministry of Health.

Mr Beirne will work with the group.

Chief executive Carole Heatly said the role was crucial for the health board's future.

''Peter has a great deal of experience in this area and I am delighted that he has agreed to take on this new role,'' Ms Heatly said.

The project could take up to a decade until completion.

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