The head of the Southland District Health Board is defending the board's consultation process over a proposed merger with the Otago DHB.
Hundreds of Southland nurses have joined a group of senior doctors in calling for wider consultation, and in saying there's a lack of information about what the merger will mean for healthcare.
Southland DHB chairman Paul Menzies says consultation has been ongoing for more than three years, and it could not have been any wider. He says the board will only vote for the merger if it retains or improves health services in Southland.
The Otago District Health Board has already voted in favour of the merger.