28 Sep 2017

Party policies at odds over Dunedin hospital rebuild

5:50 pm on 28 September 2017

The next government should rule out the use of public private partnerships in health, senior doctors say.

Dunedin Hospital.

Dunedin Hospital Photo: RNZ

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell said PPPs meant district health boards would face a charge of about 10 percent from their operating costs to compensate private investors.

"The net result is that by requiring profits to be extracted from our public health system through public private partnerships less money is spent on patient services as a consequence when the system is already strapped."

The National Party promised during the election it would put $1.2 billion to $1.4bn into the Dunedin Hospital rebuild through a public-private partnership (PPP). The new hospital would be opened in seven to 10 years.

Labour also promised $1.4bn, but leader Jacinda Ardern said there was enough money in capital spending allowance to do so without a PPP.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has said the party supports construction of a new hospital but does not want a public private partnership.\

The hospital's buildings have been failing, and a rebuild has been in the works for some years.

However, hospital services have been struggling to cope, with a review painting a picture of a dysfunctional and "chaotic" prostate cancer department.

It was also dealing with a shortage of intensive care beds and a backlog of thousands of patients for eye specialists.

Although the past government's health minister Jonathan Coleman said neither the government nor lack of funding were to blame.

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