Hospital build advisory group voice plea

While the new Dunedin hospital advisory group has representation from the NZ Transport Agency, the absence of a Southland "voice" has spurred the Invercargill City Council to take action.

A late report tabled by council’s strategic adviser Andrew Cameron at the performance, policy and partnership committee meeting on Wednesday, stated the new hospital had implications for both Otago and Southland, including digital, primary and community healthcare and workforce strategies.

Recent reports had noted a lack of planning for services across the entire Southern District Health Board and that differences between Otago and Southland remained.

A final business case for the hospital said the Dunedin project would be the driver for broader changes across the SDHB.

"It [the business case] also states that the project contributes to the development of better health outcomes for the population of Otago and Southland," Mr Cameron’s report said.

The new Dunedin hospital website says there is representation from Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council, as well as senior representation from Ngai Tahu and the NZ Transport Agency on the advisory group.

There was no representation from Southland, Mr Cameron’s report says.

"It is appropriate that Southland request representation on the local advisory board. This is consistent with the achievement of the community wellbeings identified in the Local Government Act and is an opportunity to promote the benefits of the project across the entire SDHB."

Southland District Council mayor Gary Tong said he received the report on Wednesday and the district council fully supported the city council in its efforts.

The city council voted unanimously to make an application to the Minister of Health for Southland representation.

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