We need to look at the best way to deal with delivery of neurological services in an area that covers one-quarter of New Zealand’s land mass.  The Director General of Health will be persuaded by logical argument and in that respect the “golden hour”, and the importance of having services available to a large geographical part of NZ is a compelling argument.

I have also had discussions with the Minister of Health and supported the Otago initiative to keep an operational capacity in Dunedin.

The Southern DHB has made strong representations on this issue, and presented a very good case for retaining neurological services in Dunedin.

I think it is also important to note that of those DHBs agreeing with the Christchurch-based model, Nelson Marlborough DHB currently sends 30% of their patients to Capital and Coast DHB, and the South Canterbury DHB has no preference between Christchurch or Dunedin.

Only West Coast DHB and Canterbury DHB have specifically supported the single site (six neurosurgeons in Christchurch) model (South Island Neurological Services report, 14 April 2010).

The decision is now in the hands of the acting Director-General of Health, and I would encourage those wanting to have their say to make representations to him.