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"This is a great outcome for the South Island. It was simply too critical a service to lose," Mrs Cole said.
The decision to retain neurosurgery services was announced by Acting Director-general of Health Andrew Bridgman yesterday at 11.30am.
Mr Bridgman said the service would have an independent governance board chaired by one of the world's leading neurosurgeons, Prof Andrew Kaye.
Mrs Cole said the decision to enrol Prof Kaye was an "extremely positive decision".
"Having such a leader in the neurosurgery field can only mean good for the region ... The response from the Wakatipu community has been hugely positive," she said.