You may have seen some recent comments on the size of the new Dunedin Hospital. At this early design stage the exact size of the hospital is still to be finalised.

However, we know it will be significantly bigger than the 63,000 sqm of the current hospital facilities being replaced, but smaller than what was proposed in the original masterplan.

Michelle Arrowsmith, Deputy Director General, DHB Performance, Support & Infrastructure says there are several design stages to work through.

“We’re heading towards the end of the second of five design stages which will each refine and confirm the design, functionality and cost. We’re working closely with clinicians and the wider DHB team as part of this process.

“The key focus is on getting the new hospital’s functionality right, not the square metres. Dunedin needs a hospital that makes more efficient use of space than the current hospital. It needs to be the right size hospital that is affordable in terms of building and running costs, with capacity for future growth.”

Southern Partnership Group Chair, Pete Hodgson adds that the hospital size is the subject of much current debate and refinement.

“Passionate clinicians can be expected to start from the standpoint of what works for their service and their patients. Those positions then have to be fashioned and forged into a coherent whole, which can be pretty challenging.

“The new Dunedin hospital will be a small tertiary hospital servicing a small population living in a large land area, just like it always has been. What’s different is that it will be built for tomorrow’s health system, not yesterday’s.

“Some services will be expanded to meet predicted future needs. Operating theatres, the emergency department and intensive care services are three important examples.

“The new hospital will also be able to make much more efficient use of space. Further efficiencies will become possible by the much greater use of digital technology.”

Michelle Arrowsmith adds that the new hospital is also an opportunity for the DHB to look at how it can deliver more new models of care.

“DHBs need to ensure people get timely access to services in the most appropriate setting. This may mean that it makes more sense for some services to be delivered in the community.”