13 Aug 2017

Southern DHB needs to act fast - union

7:01 am on 13 August 2017

The senior doctors' union is calling on the Southern District Health Board to act quickly on the problem of long waiting times for patient care.

More than 3000 people work at Dunedin Hospital.

Dunedin Hospital. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

The board earlier made a public apology in the Otago Daily Times for delayed prostate cancer checks and cardiac surgeries at Dunedin Hospital.

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

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists said poor management and underfunding had led to the long waiting times.

Its executive director, Ian Powell, said while the board's current leadership had inherited those problems and should be given some time to solve them, it needed to act fast.

He said it needed to employ more staff to share the workload.

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

Meanwhile, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has refused to apologise for calling the Southern DHB's urology department "toxic", despite complaints from doctors.

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