Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Southern District Health Board needs to live within its means, but is promising to upgrade Dunedin hospital.
Jonathan Coleman was in Dunedin today in his first outing as minister to find out first-hand about problems facing the DHB.
Dunedin's hospital is in need of renovations, estimated to cost between $200 million and $300 million, and the DHB is facing a $16 million deficit.
Dr Coleman told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme the hospital would be rebuilt, but the DHB's current funding should be enough and it needs to look at how it spends money.
"More money's going into that DHB all the time. The issue is how the money is actually spent, but at the heart of it all you've got to provide services that the community want and that the patients need."
Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell said quick solutions cannot be expected, but the visit was a good first step.
The visit gives him some confidence that problems within the DHB are being taken seriously, he said.