New Zealand Labour Party

Dunedin Hospital needs more than drip feed

An ongoing and embarrassing pattern of major building leaks and equipment failures at Dunedin Public Hospital has been revealed in papers released under the Official Information Act, Dunedin North MP David Clark says.

“Documents released under the Official Information Act tell of buckets scattered around surgical wards, water leaking into sterile areas, and a relentless pattern of equipment failures, putting patients’ lives at risk.

“In one report, the Board is explicitly advised that the hospital building ‘does not provide an environment to support contemporary practice and organisational efficiency due to age, reduced structural integrity, outdated design and layout of the building,’ all of which can ‘result in temporary closure of theatres causing cancelled sessions and lost production.’

“Medical experts have been sounding warnings for some time. It’s past time the Government put its money where its mouth is to protect patient safety.

“Dunedin is the only major metropolitan hospital in New Zealand that has not had an upgrade. Rather than confronting the DHB’s building woes head on and committing to the necessary rebuild the Government’s genius response is to cut operating budgets further.

“Leaked cabinet papers indicate lower than average funding is being proposed for the Southern DHB in the next budget round. In other words: the beatings will continue until morale improves.

“The solution is abundantly clear. It is the Government – not the DHB – that urgently needs to address the third world state of Dunedin Public Hospital. The DHB is doing its level best to provide. 

“In terms of the hospital, this is where the government needs to step up to the plate. Not when the deficit has been cleared, not when further services are cut, not when lives are being put at risk, but right now.

 “Dunedin Hospital trains a large portion of New Zealand’s future medical workforce. They shouldn’t be learning their trade in third world conditions”, David Clark says.