Neurosurgery services are to stay in Dunedin. The findings of the expert panel review have been announced.
An independent Governance Board will be appointed to lead the implementation of the review panel’s findings.
In short: the panel has recognised just how crazy the proposal to remove services from Dunedin was, and is promoting a strengthening of services in Dunedin:
“The South Island Neurosurgery Service develops an academic neurosurgical component in Dunedin, supported by the University of Otago and comprising, as a minimum, an appointment at Professorial level, an appointment at Senior Lecturer level, and appropriate infrastructural support
“Urgent attention be given to building the Dunedin node, in association with the University of Otago
“The South Island Neurosurgery Service is built to include seven, then eight neurosurgeons, with a minimum of three neurosurgeons in Dunedin. The numbers refer to people and not full time equivalent measures. Careful consideration be given to the prudent and integrated development of subspecialisation.”
It is a failure of leadership that this announcement has taken so long. Health Minister Tony Ryall should have stepped up to make this decision months ago. Instead, he has hidden behind a panel review, leaving a long anxious wait for tens of thousands of people across Otago and Southland. It is time for Mr Ryall to start showing leadership in his role.
Where the Minister hasn’t shown leadership, the people have. The uniting of people across Otago and Southland to fight for this service bodes well for the future of the newly merged DHB. As I’ve argued before, keeping Neurosurgery in Dunedin makes sense. It is also a credit also to those who’ve campaigned for common sense – and with it the retention of neurosurgical services in Dunedin.
A very good day for Dunedin.
The panel’s full report can be found here.