South 'gazumped', Shadbolt says

Tim Shadbolt
Tim Shadbolt
Southland's fear of losing health services to Dunedin because of the health board amalgamation had so far proved groundless, but now both provinces risk being "gazumped" by a northern neighbour, says Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt.

Mr Shadbolt said it was important the southern centres fought together to stave off the risk of neurosurgery being based in Christchurch.

He was proud of the joint regional mayoral letter sent to Director-general of Health Stephen McKernan this month, also signed by Central Otago Mayor Malcolm Macpherson, Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin, Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks, Southland Mayor Frana Cardno, Clutha Mayor Juno Hayes, Queenstown-Lakes Mayor Clive Geddes and Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton.

Mr Shadbolt said Southland was just "getting over" the amalgamation, in May, of the old Otago and Southland health boards to form the Southern District Health Board.

The fear health services would relocate to Dunedin had not been realised.

The risk to southern services was now from Christchurch, with the proposal to base all six South Island neurosurgeons there.

Mr Shadbolt said the South needed to continue to work together to keep essential services, in the way Dunedin, Invercargill, and Queenstown worked to attract Rugby World Cup games.


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