Doctors are hailing a report that recommends ignoring the Southern District Health Board's plan to merge the Lakes District Hospital with a private provider.
A National Health Board panel unveiled its recommendations for the Queenstown hospital on Monday, following two years of controversy.
The panel was commissioned after disputes arose between the community and the Southern DHB about how health services should be provided.
The Southern DHB wanted to develop an integrated family health centre, where a private GP would triage patients coming into the Emergency Department, and to cut the number of doctors at the hospital from eight to six.
Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell says panel's recommendation that the Emergency Department and medical staff remain unchanged vindicate what senior doctors and nursing staff at the hospital have been saying.
The Wakatipu Health Trust was among those opposed to the DHB's proposal to replace the hospital with an integrated health centre.
Spokesperson Maria Cole says it's pleased the panel has recommended the board retain the hospital, including the emergency department.
The DHB will vote on the panel's document on Friday.