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ORC Chairman Welcomes Dunedin Hospital Rebuild Announcement

ORC chairman welcomes Dunedin Hospital rebuild announcement

Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead has welcomed the Government’s commitment to spend up to $1.4 billion on building a new hospital for the southern South Island in Dunedin, saying it is a massive boost for the region.

ORC supported the Dunedin City Council-led ‘Dunedin Hospital SOS” campaign launched in March and is a major sponsor of the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter Trust, which services the existing hospital.

The SOS campaign called on the Government to commit to redevelop the hospital to maintain and enhance its status as a top-flight teaching hospital.

Mr Woodhead said it was gratifying that in doing so the Government had responded positively to the more than6000 people, numerous organisations and businesses, and mayors from throughout Otago/Southland who backed the campaign.

Because of the ever-present risk of the South Island’s Alpine Fault rupturing, and the urgent national planning under way for such an event, it was vital Dunedin Hospital was as well-resourced and equipped as possible to handle the likely casualties, Mr Woodhead said.

“The scientists tell us that this rupture is not a matter of if, but when, so it is all the more important that our Otago base hospital is rebuilt and upgraded to a high standard,” he said.

Mr Woodhead said he was encouraged that the rebuild would ensure the new hospital met building standards requiring it to be immediately operational after an earthquake or other similar disaster.

The spending associated with construction would also provide a massive and welcome injection into the regional economy, Mr Woodhead said.

He hoped any certainty about the likely location for the rebuilt hospital would come quickly so the project could get under way without delay.


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