An Australian-owned, Auckland-based organisation has
secured one of three contracts to provide home-based services
for elderly people in the South.
The not-for-profit Royal District Nursing Service New Zealand
will provide services in Otago-Southland from midway through
This follows revelations in the Otago Daily Times
yesterday that Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) had lost a
Southern District Health Board (SDHB) contract worth $5.5
million. The board is due to formally announce the new
Yesterday, board member Kaye Crowther, when asked, confirmed
Royal District Nursing Service was one of those selected. She
refused to comment further, saying the matter was discussed
in the public-excluded section of last week's disability
The organisation is registered as a New Zealand company,
which is wholly owned by its Australian parent, according to
the Companies Office website. Two of five directors are
When contacted, board chairwoman and director Anne Blackburn,
of Auckland, directed inquiries to the health board.
The shake-up, described by PSO chief executive Gillian
Bremner in yesterday's Otago Daily Times as a ''huge
shock'', comes as the SDHB rationalises the service to fewer
providers, and introduces a ''restorative'' model to increase
Mrs Bremner said yesterday it was unfortunate the board chose
an outside provider over a ''tried and true'' local option.
While its parent was well established in Australia, home
support was very different there, where it was more
generously funded, Mrs Bremner said.
It appeared a ''particular ideology'' was driving tender
processes, which favoured larger entities. This was changing
the face of the home-based support sector nationwide, she
Disabilities Resource Centre Southland general manager Debbie
Webster, whose organisation also missed out, said the
southern board was the biggest in New Zealand by area, and
much of it was rural. Providing the service required
specialist knowledge and networks.
''I don't believe that [the Auckland-based company] would
have those [networks].
''That sort of connection doesn't happen overnight. It's
something that's established over years and years.''
Losing the contract put at risk the centre's hospital visit
courtesy van, a service greatly valued in Southland as it
helped people attend their hospital appointments.
It also benefited the health board, through helping people
keep their appointments. In a joint press release, Dunedin
Labour MPs Clare Curran and David Clark condemned the
decision, saying PSO was a proven provider and should be