Vending machines before art

Barbara Brinsley.
Barbara Brinsley.
An art print in Dunedin Hospital has been ''obliterated'' by vending machines ''plonked'' either side, art advisory committee acting chairwoman Barbara Brinsley says.

Mrs Brinsley has been raising concerns for the past couple of weeks with the Southern District Health Board over its attempts to find a place for two new vending machines. Dunedin Hospital oncologist Dr David Perez shared Mrs Brinsley's concerns, saying the art collection was a distinctive feature of Dunedin Hospital.

Hospital art helped people through troubling times. The print was ''sandwiched'' by the vending machines.

''We need to preserve the quality of the display,'' Dr Perez said.

Earlier this month, the board advised it was putting the machines in the main hospital foyer, and a Philippa Blair work would be shifted to accommodate them. When Mrs Brinsley complained, they were placed in the entranceway to oncology instead.

Last week, Mrs Brinsley discovered one of the machines was in front of the print, completely obscuring it. She complained, and the machine was moved, but now the pair sat either side of the print.

While she admitted the print was not the most illustrious item in the hospital's significant collection, the ''lack of respect'' for it was ''very distressing''.

It was effectively ''obliterated'' by the machines.

Mrs Brinsley saw no place for vending machines dispensing soft drinks like Coca-Cola or unhealthy snack foods in a hospital at all. Their proximity to oncology, and the children's ward, made it especially unsuitable, given obesity was a risk factor for cancer.

The board did not respond to requests for access to the site to take a photograph.

Responding by email, patient services executive director Lexie O'Shea said while Coca-Cola was available, there were plenty of other options.

''These machines have a range of food and drink, including healthy options . . . The machines are required to ensure that the public and staff have good access to food after hours.

''Most of the [new] machines replaced existing ones. However, a small number are new machines where we are working to ensure that they are placed in a suitable location, and where there is good access to them.''

She did not respond to questions about whether the machines were appropriately placed. Communications director Steve Addison did not return calls.eileen.

Add a Comment