Woodhouse wades in on hospital 'fast track'

Michael Woodhouse
Michael Woodhouse
The announcement by the Government today of a "fast track" of part of the new Dunedin Hospital build smacks of hypocrisy, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

Health Minister David Clark announced earlier today the hospital would be built in two stages, with an outpatient and day surgery building due to be finished more than three years earlier than anticipated.

The new building is expected to be on the Wilson Parking building block on the corner of Cumberland at St Andrews St, and the plan is to open it in two stages: November 2023 and November 2024.

A second, larger inpatient building would be finished five or six years after that, meaning the end of the build would be between 2028 and 2030, rather than the mid-2026 date planned.

In a statement this afternoon Mr Woodhouse said the announcement would be welcomed by the South but the Minister "needed to be reminded of his comments in Opposition". 

“The announcement of the outpatient and day patients building is good news for the Southern region, but in reality the Minister’s ‘fast track’ is actually a managed delay of the entire project and smacks of hypocrisy," he said. 

“He was very vocal in Opposition about the rebuild, saying a completion date of 2027 was too slow. Now it appears the best case scenario for the completion of the larger inpatient building would be late 2028 and more likely into 2030, which is slower than the time frame the previous National-led Government had laid out.

“He has also previously said that it’s ‘really important the voice of the South is strong in the discussions’. However, this ‘voice’ has been restricted in recent months to include just two people, the rebuild chair and former Labour Minister Pete Hodgson and the Minister himself.

Mr Woodhouse said Mr Clark needed to explain why decisions on this vital development and its business case have been made with "absolutely zero engagement with the public".

"Phase one of the detailed business case was completed four months ago but the public has been left in the dark.

“There’s also no mention of what impact extending the project by three years or more will have on its cost and it’s already an eye-wateringly expensive project.

“While the longer time to completion will not be welcomed by locals, it may benefit local construction companies by allowing them to play a greater part in the project. Mr Hodgson had originally suggested the lead contractor for the rebuild would have to be an overseas company.

“The Minister seems to be desperately working to put a spade in the ground in the shortest possible time at the expense of the whole project and its time to completion. He has indicated that those spades will be in the ground in the second half of 2020, which will likely just happen to coincide with the next general election.”

Comments

Meh - Woodhouse has no credibility whatsoever on health. If Clark does anything at all he'll be a vast improvement on his predecessors.

Woodhouse ran Mercy, that’s better than a doctorate in divinity or whatever it is that lets Clark call himself a doctor.

Talk to a few nurses, or take a walk around the hospital, PT, Woodhouse's failures are everywhere apparent. It's not hard to do better than a deadbeat who did nothing.

Really Mike? What did you do about improving health when you had the chance? You had your chance to put up, now ...

 

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