The Southern District Health Board's own public health arm has now come out against the Ronald McDonald charity setting up a hospital house in Dunedin.

Last week, the Public Health Association caused a public outcry when its Otago-Southland branch urged the DHB to shun fast-food giant McDonald's.

Ronald McDonald House Charities is keen to discuss establishing a facility in the rebuilt Dunedin Hospital.

Many members of the public disagree with the public health advocates, including families who had stayed in Ronald McDonald houses in other centres.

Keith Reid. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Keith Reid. Photo / Otago Daily Times

In a new statement, the DHB's Public Health South said any such proposal for Dunedin ''contradicts basic public health principles''.

Clinical leader Dr Keith Reid said he agreed with the stance taken by Counties Manukau DHB.

That board dropped plans for a Ronald McDonald house after listening to public health staff.

''The Southern DHB executive will recognise that this view is consistent with the mandate held by all DHBs to promote healthy behaviour.

''While the public health perspective will be one of many that will be considered with regard to the Dunedin Hospital rebuild, I hope that the importance of the DHB actively role-modelling behaviour that supports and promotes good health will be the prevailing position at the end of any debate,'' Reid said.

It is understood that Reid's statement had to be signed off by chief executive Chris Fleming before it was released.

The board also provided a statement from Fleming, which said family accommodation was an important part of the rebuild, and ''all options are worthy of discussion''.

''We have heard and appreciate Public Health South's views as well as the views of others.''


''All decisions are based on evidence and what is in the best interest of the patients, their families, and our community.''