Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) has suffered a ''huge
shock'' from being dumped as the provider of a $5.5 million
annual contract providing home-based services to older people,
chief executive Gillian Bremner says.
The Southern District Health Board is rationalising
home-based support services in Otago-Southland, and wants
''It feels like a bereavement in the family ... so I'm
upset,'' she said.
The board is introducing a ''restorative'' model to try to
enhance client mobility and activity.
''We've pioneered the restorative service with a reluctant
DHB for many years. The staff actually provide a fantastic
service,'' Mrs Bremner said.
PSO, with Disabilities Resource Centre Southland (DRCS), had
hoped to secure a sizeable part of the new service. The two
paired up to provide the Otago and Southland-wide service
sought by the board planned to start midway through next
Together, PSO and DRCS accounted for 42% of the board's
''Obviously, losing a sizeable DHB contract means that the
overheads related to that will no longer be necessary. The
impact on the whole organisation is significant.''
It was too early to state the extent of the ''significant
structural reviews'' that would result.
Mrs Bremner understands three providers have been chosen for
the service. PSO was on a short list of six.
Affected staff were expected to secure jobs with the new
providers, serving the same elderly clients.
Elderly clients should not be worried, because they would
still have their service, she emphasised.
Successful tenderers will be named later this week by the
board, which yesterday declined to comment before the
The district health board accounted for the vast majority of
PSO's home support work. It also delivers home support for
the Accident Compensation Corporation, and the Ministry of
Nearly 400 staff were employed in its home support division.
''[Home support is] not the only thing that we do in
Presbyterian Support, by any means, but it's a large part of
what we do.''
She had not been advised why the bid was unsuccessful, but
understood she would receive feedback on that today.
''I'm not sure what else we could have done to demonstrate we
wanted to be part of it.''
The multimillion-dollar contract helped support the
infrastructure for PSO's wider work, which includes social
supports for vulnerable people. However, profit margins from
home support were slim, she said.
Disabilities Resource Centre Southland general manager Debbie
Webster said there was ''disbelief'' the centre had missed
out on the service it had provided for 13 years.
The contract was worth between $2 million and $2.5 million a
year. The service covered isolated areas such as Stewart
Island, and Tuatapere, and the centre had built strong local
relationships over the years. Up to 200 staff were affected.
The situation created uncertainty for clients, she said.
Home support covers a raft of services, including shopping,
food preparation, medication management, personal care,
house-cleaning and general household management.