A Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) deputation failed
yesterday to sway the Southern District Health Board, which
will press ahead with plans to dump the organisation from
home-based services as early as next month.
PSO chairman Frazer Barton said his board would make a final
decision on Monday on whether to lodge an interim legal
injunction over the $5.5 million annual contract.
The PSO group, supported by members of the public, attended
the health board meeting in Dunedin, at which speakers
appealed to members. A petition was presented with 13,044
Yesterday afternoon, board chairman Joe Butterfield issued a
statement saying the board was unanimous in its resolve not
to revisit the decision, which was the best long-term option
''[The board] needs to do further work in explaining the
reasons for our decision to the public and we will be doing
this in an open way as soon as possible. ''We have been
reluctant to do this when faced with possible legal action
but now believe this is essential regardless of that,'' Mr
Butterfield said. PSO and supporters expressed immediate
disappointment yesterday morning when they left after the
Board members were described as appearing to have ''closed
minds'' by submitter Dr Keren Skegg.
Mr Barton told members his organisation had been at a
disadvantage as it was unable to cite the Southern District
Health Board as a referee, because the board was running the
The three selected North Island-based organisations, one of
which is owned by an Australian organisation, were able to
cite health boards as referees as they worked in other areas.
PSO chief executive Gillian Bremner said the transfer process
was likely to be ''complete disarray''. Board member Richard
Thomson asked why PSO did not raise concerns during initial
consultation with providers, to which Mr Barton said PSO had
anticipated a fair contractual process.
Chief executive Carole Heatly said it did not matter ''whose
name was above the door'', the priority was the clients and
PSO hoped to partner Disabilities Resource Centre Southland
to provide the service in Otago and Southland.