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Doctors Welcome Removal of Chair of Dunedin Hospital Rebuild

Senior Doctors Welcome Removal of Chair of Dunedin Hospital Rebuild Group But More to Be Done Including Clinical Leadership

The union for senior doctors is welcoming the Government’s decision to remove the external Chair of the so-called ‘partnership group’ overseeing the Dunedin Hospital rebuild. But there is more to be done including the need for extensive clinical leadership in the design of patient services and facilities.

“It is important that this ‘partnership group’ is not dominated by people with limited local knowledge of the specific health needs of those who will need treatment at the new Dunedin Hospital,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

He was commenting on Health Minister David Clark’s decision to sack the Dunedin Hospital rebuild Chair and appoint former Labour Cabinet Minister Pete Hodgson to lead the project (

“It’s a sensible move to stand down Andrew Blair, who has limited knowledge of the wider Southern DHB region’s hospital needs. His hospital experience is limited to much smaller and less complex private hospitals.”

Mr Powell says the creation of ‘partnership groups’ is a recent mechanism established by the former government to give the Ministry of Health control over major hospital rebuilds. Their effect was to marginalise the DHBs involved – in this case, Southern DHB, but also West Coast and Canterbury DHBs.

“It is critically important that the Health Minister requires that what services are to be provided (and how) is based on extensive clinical leadership. It is hospital specialists and other health professionals that possess the greatest expertise in this. If this doesn’t happen then poor decisions are guaranteed.

“Dr David Clark also needs to go a step further by changing the role of the ‘partnership group’ by ensuring that Southern DHB is in the driving seat of the Dunedin hospital rebuild and not controlled by this group. This should also then apply to West Coast and Canterbury DHBs, and any other major hospital project.}


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