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Health Minister 'disappointed' with Middlemore bosses

Health Minister David Clark is refusing to be drawn on whether jobs will be lost over over the Middlemore Hospital rotting building troubles.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Mr Clark said he met hospital management after a report he received in November last year warned about poor and very poor hospital buildings in Auckland.

Both he and predecessor Jonathan Coleman have denied knowing the extent of the problems at Middlemore.

But documents show district health boards in Auckland and Northland warned the current and former health ministers about the poor state of hospital buildings in the region.

'I learnt that the Scott building needed urgent repairs when I visited Counties Manukau and I signed off the next week on additional maintenance funding for that building' - David Clark - from Morning Report

Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
MP3 format.

Asked on Morning Report if he followed up on the comments in the Northern Regional Health Plan of 2017/18 that some buildings were not fit for purpose, Mr Clark said he did take steps to find out more.

"It's a little bit different to say significant deferred and dated maintenance as saying there's actually rot, mould and sewage in the walls.

"And I learnt that when I went and visited," he said.

"I went and saw them and actually sat down with them and asked was told about the Scott building and I've subsequently called the acting chair of the DHB in for a further conversation."

The Scott Building is one of several buildings in bad shape at Middlemore Hospital.

"I was very disappointed they didn't raise the other buildings with me when I visited because we learnt only subsequently there was sewage in the walls and we learnt only subsequently that there were these other buildings," Mr Clark said.

Yesterday Mr Clark put the chair of the Counties Manukau health board Rabin Rabindran on notice, along with an unnamed board member.

But he refused to be drawn on whether anyone would lose their jobs over the Middlemore Hospital problems.

"I have said I am disappointed - that's on record.

"There's a process in place, I'm having a conversation now, and I'm not prepared to say anything more about that at this stage."

Mr Clark has asked for a national asset management plan which will report on all buildings in the health sector.

"This is but one problem, there is plenty more like this."

He said there would be more significant capital going to hospital rebuild than there has been in previous government budgets.


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