Presbyterian Support Otago workers are upset about the
Southern District Health Board's decision to dump the
organisation as a provider for home-based care, with (front
from left) Catherine Jowsey, Sheryl Stevenson, union
organiser Mike Hanifin and Theresa Wedlock among those who
attended a meeting to discuss the issue yesterday. Photo by
Care workers at Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) say a
decision to dump the organisation as a provider for home-based
care services has left them and their clients facing an
This comes as the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) this
week confirmed it would drop PSO and instead partner with
Healthcare of New Zealand, Access Homehealth and Royal
District Nursing Service New Zealand to introduce a new model
of care for home and community support services across the
It also announced PSO staff would be transferred to one of
the new providers. Home-based care workers Catherine Jowsey,
Sheryl Stevenson and Theresa Wedlock, who were among about 40
staff who met in Dunedin yesterday to discuss their options,
all felt SDHB had left them out of the loop in making the
They said PSO and its about 400 staff working in home-based
support were offering a good service and could not understand
why it had been dumped.
''We have spent years building the service to what it is and
I think people just want to know why it was dumped,'' Ms
They said the decision left them facing an uncertain future,
despite the fact they had been told they would keep their
''Apparently, we will still have jobs, but as yet nobody
knows who is taking us over ... [and] we don't know what the
conditions of those jobs will be,'' Ms Wedlock said.
Many of their clients were also upset by the decision, she
''A lot of the clients that do understand what is going on
are just absolutely disgusted. They just don't understand why
SDHB would dump Presbyterian Support for no apparent
Caregivers and Related Employees (Care) union organiser Mike
Hanifin said its members, who made up most of the staff who
met yesterday, did not want to lie down and accept the
''They want the union to organise and campaign to get the DHB
to reconsider and at least put in a fourth provider, so that
more of the resources will stay in the local area,'' Mr
Actions the union could take included picketing Dunedin
Hospital when the board was meeting, he said.
SDHB Allied Health executive director Lynda McCutcheon, who
was part of the selection process, said last night PSO staff
would still be employed under the same conditions.
''We have gone above and beyond what was required and, as
part of the tender documentation, they are required to be
transferred on the same conditions that they have now.''
The DHB was confident in the three providers it had chosen
and there was no need for a fourth, she said.
PSO said earlier this week it was seeking legal advice to
challenge the board's decision to dump the organisation as a
home support provider.