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