12 Aug 2017

Southern DHB 'sincerely' sorry for patient wait times

3:31 pm on 12 August 2017

The Southern District Health Board has issued a public apology to patients who have waited too long for treatment.

More than 3000 people work at Dunedin Hospital.

Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

The embattled DHB is under pressure over long waiting times for prostate cancer checks and cardiac surgery at Dunedin Hospital.

Hospital urologists say they have repeatedly asked for more resources, and Urological Society chair Stephen Mark has described the situation as a "crisis of patient care".

Southern DHB commissioners Kathy Grant, Richard Thomson and Graham Crombie published the apology in the Otago Daily Times.

They said they were sincerely sorry, and acknowledged the impact long wait times had on patients' lives.

The DHB cites poor funding and an old, unsatisfactory hospital as significant hurdles.

But it also said some work practices needed overhauling.

Commissioner Kathy Grant said the DHB would invest in primary care and improving secondary care and facilities.

"I know that our community would hope for rapid progress in resolving some of these matters, but the arc is quite wide and it will be a slow turn. I'm confident that we are making progress."

The Southern DHB said it has commissioned an independent report into the urology department, which it will publicly release once completed.