Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) has decided against taking
legal action over its dumping as a home-support provider,
saying it wants to avoid uncertainty for clients and staff.
PSO chairman Frazer Barton said in a statement yesterday it
was a difficult decision, because PSO felt it had been
treated unfairly by the Southern District Health Board.
The shake-up has cut PSO out of home-based services, for
which it had a $5.5 million annual contract.
PSO had indicated it would lodge an interim legal injunction
if its last-ditch plea to the health board last Friday was
unsuccessful, but yesterday PSO said legal action had an
uncertain outcome and could create stress.
''Clients and staff now need clarity about their future and
any further action taken by PSO would prolong an already
''Taking further legal action would not ultimately result in
the reinstatement of PSO as a provider, regardless of any
judicial review outcome.''
However, the health board faced the ''court of public
opinion'' over the decision, which drew a petition with more
than 13,000 signatures.
Losing the contract had an ''impact'', but PSO was large and
Health board chief executive Carole Heatly welcomed the news,
saying in a media release PSO was disappointed, but the
process had been fair.
''PSO was not chosen as a preferred provider because its
tender proposal was not as good as the successful
''Our process was externally audited. The new model of care,
which will provide a better service to clients, was
extensively consulted on and has wide support.''
The health board is moving to a bulk-funded service with
three providers rather than 17, to be phased in over four
months from March 1.
A health board meeting document released this week to the
Otago Daily Times shows PSO and partner Disabilities
Resource Centre Southland (DRCS) were on a shortlist with
Access, Healthcare NZ, Royal District Nursing Service, Nurse
Maud, and Lifewise.
Theirs was the only joint bid, and they were the only
existing providers on the shortlist to miss out.
PSO and DRCS, along with successful tenderers Access, and
Healthcare NZ, provided about 84% of home-support in Otago
The other successful provider was the Australian-owned,
Auckland-based Royal District Nursing Service.
The document said the McHale Group was appointed as a probity
adviser for the tender and expressions of interest process,
because of legal action that arose from a similar process in
Capital and Coast DHB.