31 August 2011
Queenstown Hospital decision a victory for public health system
The recommendations of an expert health panel to ignore a privatisation proposal and keep Lakes District Hospital and
its emergency department in Queenstown, is a victory for the local community and for the under siege public health
system, Labour Health Spokesperson Grant Robertson says.
"The expert panel report is testament to the commitment of the local community and the region’s medical professionals to
keeping their hospital and its services going.
“In the face of plans that would have seen public health services replaced by privately run ones, the community has
spoken up, and been listened to by the expert panel," Grant Robertson said.
"One of the panel’s most important recommendations is that the Southern DHB retains the governance (including the
funding and provision of services) of Lakes District Hospital.
“Despite the problems facing the DHB this is the right decision. A move to a privately run facility risked seeing a
reduction in services and in the affordability and accessibility of those services."
Both clinicians and the local community will welcome the recommendation that a full roster of medical staff be
maintained. This will provide much-needed confidence that quality of care will be preserved and enhanced.
"The panel also makes recommendations around improved regional collaboration and integration, the results of which would
be both health and economic benefits for the people of Central Otago and the Lakes District.
“While the report does note that the recommendations can be implemented within current budgets, it will be important
that this is closely monitored given the other pressures facing the DHB, particularly at Dunedin Hospital."
"When the plans to privatise hospital services in Queenstown were mooted, Health Minister Tony Ryall refused to commit
to backing the public services. I hope now - in the face of this report - he will throw his weight behind the panel and
not give further traction to privatisation proposals in other parts of the country, thus ensuring the future of public
health services in the region, Grant Robertson said.