We live in interesting times! The sharp focus currently on how the Southern Health System works, how it could be improved and thus what the Dunedin Hospital rebuild should look like, is ensuring a careful look at the role and contribution of the University and in particular the Dunedin School of Medicine.
We have two key roles as the Dunedin School of Medicine. The first is training undergraduate and postgraduate doctors as well as running the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science which trains many of the people who work in Medical Laboratories across New Zealand. Our students permeate all parts of the health system from the most intense surgery to most general practices in the community as well as all medical laboratories. The Division of Health Sciences of which we are a part also provides training for dentists, pharmacists and physiotherapists who are also seen throughout the system. We see and are part of what is going on and our students need to see and be learning in rapidly changing and learning environment where quality and safety are paramount.
Our second key role is in research. Research has delivered effective prevention, new treatments and ways of doing things that the health system needs to embrace in an ongoing and rapidly changing world.
I am glad to say that the rebuild process is actively involving the university at many levels and in a way that identifies what we can do better together rather than apart. The opportunity to plan collectively is being embraced by all parties and it feels really good to be part of this, as the final product will be with us for the next 30+ years!!
We also recognise the importance in further strengthening our relationships with our community. For that reason, we have launched a free public lecture series, the Future Face of Healthcare, providing an open forum for our clinical and academic staff to connect, and share their ground-breaking research stories with our community.
Change and sometimes disagreement is something to be welcomed and embraced – we have a strong commitment to work in partnership with the Southern DHB to produce a world leading system of excellence in health care in the south.