MP'S VIEW: Ingrid Leary, Labour MP. Government strengthens commitment to hospital

I am delighted that, as local Labour MPs, we have been able to secure the best possible outcome for Dunedin and Otago’s new state-of-the-art hospital in the current fiscally-constrained environment.

We have been working hard with senior colleagues for months behind the scenes and last week’s announcement shows they’ve listened.

We secured these wins by focusing on substantive issues and not being distracted by publicity politics.

I especially want to thank Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall for acting with urgency to come to Dunedin in February to hear first hand the concerns, and for taking them on board and making appropriate changes.

Thank you too to all the medical staff who continued to advocate for the best health outcomes for people of our region.

Taieri Labour MP Ingrid Leary attends the nurses’ protest at the weekend. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Taieri Labour MP Ingrid Leary attends the nurses’ protest at the weekend. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
There were some on the council who understood the issues and have worked constructively with us focused on clinical outcomes, and who can also take some credit for this great outcome.

We have always said Dunedin Hospital will be five-star and state of the art and the minister’s announcement proves conclusively that that’s what we will get.

The minister has announced:

 - There will be no further substantial redesigns and now it’s time to get on with the build. It’s likely that further design changes would lead to increased cost and delay which no-one wants.

 - An extra $10 million for the hospital will include an additional MRI machine, and a complete fit-out of collaborative workspace. This is a reversal of a previous decision to "shell" these spaces.

 - An additional $97 million to go towards the data and digital infrastructure required to make the new hospital operational.

The now $1.68 billion hospital is the largest ever health infrastructure project in New Zealand.

Now set to be 25% bigger, the new hospital will include more than 40 additional beds and nine additional theatres.

Its design and use of the latest technologies will mean better patient flow and improved access to diagnostics and treatment spaces which will help reduce unnecessary delays.

The minister has also asked for further advice on the proposed pathology arrangements and says she is open to alternatives.

To ensure this Government meets the mental health needs of older people, she has also announced a review to determine the most appropriate range of services to meet the needs of not only the Dunedin community in this regard, but also the wider.

This Government’s commitment to building a state-of-the-art health facility which will deliver the health services the people of Dunedin and the wider region deserve remains unwavering.