Southern PHO reviewing need for advisory groups

The Southern Primary Health Organisation is reviewing the role of three advisory groups which cost about $170,000 a year.

At the PHO's annual meeting in Dunedin yesterday, chairman Stuart Heal said the organisation had passed through the transition phase when nine organisations merged into one.

It was now time to review whether a clinical advisory group, Maori advisory group and community advisory group were still needed, as the Otago and Southland organisation was well established.

Those groups were established to ensure the board of the PHO was in touch with the community. The old organisations had not had liaison groups, because they were small and closer to the community.

After the meeting, he told the Otago Daily Times the groups were a "significant expense", but it was unlikely they would be dropped altogether.

It was possible they would meet less frequently, and make better use of technology links.

Following consultation, a decision would be made early next year.

Cost was a factor, although not the main consideration.

Mr Heal told the annual meeting the year had been "difficult" but he was pleased with the organisation's financial performance, having returned a $114,698 surplus in 2011-12.

The year was the first complete financial year as a single PHO, he said.

Links with the Southern District Health Board had been tightened, and there was growing realisation the two bodies had to work together. This meant funding had to follow patients to a greater degree.

Chief executive Ian Macara said there were 285,582 enrolled patients in Otago and Southland who on average visited their GP 3.3 times, down slightly on the previous year.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

 

 

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