Hon Dr David Clark
Minister of Health
7 December 2018
Fast track for new Dunedin Hospital outpatient and day surgery building
Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced a significant change in the approach to constructing the new Dunedin
It will now be built in two stages, with the outpatient and day surgery building fast tracked to be finished more than
three years earlier than anticipated and the larger inpatient building due to be finished five or six years after that.
David Clark said the announcement comes after ‘some months of thinking and planning’, and is conditional on the normal
Cabinet and budgetary processes being secured.
“The underlying issue is that the existing Dunedin hospital will not last the distance in its current state. There is
simply too much damage, too much congestion, too many things to work around and no room to do so.
“Had we done nothing, the existing hospital would have progressively struggled to deliver adequate services, especially
in the emergency department and in surgical services. It would also be unreasonable to ask staff to operate under
existing conditions for another decade.
“Sadly, all of this is the direct and predictable result of years of procrastination and indecision in earlier times.
“The current hospital simply does not have adequate day surgery capacity and has no room to build more. The Southern DHB
and the Southern Partnership Group have considered every conceivable option to address this. The best way forward is to
put a manageable chunk of the new hospital on a much faster track.
“As soon as we have new day surgery capacity up and running, we will be able to repurpose that space within the existing
hospital to best serve the needs of patients and staff. That will mean the existing hospital will be much more
functional for the last five or six years of its life.”
The new plan is to open the smaller of the two buildings, the day surgery and outpatient building, in two stages;
November 2023 and November 2024. Importantly, day surgery will be able to start in the new facility in November 2023.
Some contingency times have been built into the plans but these dates are nonetheless dependent on no major obstacles
such as unpredicted ground conditions.
The larger inpatient building does not have a finish date yet but Dr Clark said he expects it will be complete in about
“The people of the South have been waiting too long for modern hospital facilities – this plan means they can expect to
have modern outpatient and day surgery facilities within five years,” David Clark said.