Presbyterian Support Services will have to ''further
sharpen'' its operations as it continues to face tough
financial times, its board corporate and finance committee
chairman Ray Macleod says.
At PSO's annual meeting last night, the decision by the
Southern District Health Board to end the $5.5 million
home-based services contract late last year and award it to
Access, Healthcare NZ and the Australian-owned Royal District
Nursing Service, dominated reports.
Outgoing board chairman Frazer Barton said being told PSO had
missed out on the contract not on price or quality of
service, but on basis of sustainability, when the service had
been going for 20 years and PSO for 107 years was ''frankly
So was the claim of a lack of innovation when every time a
change had been suggested it was like ''knocking our heads
against a brick wall''.
The board chose not to pursue a long drawn-out court battle
over the decision but it meant dismantling the structure for
home-based services, he said.
''It has not affected our ongoing financial viability. We are
here for the long haul.''
Mr Macleod said it had been a challenging year due to the
health board decision, which he believed was
''ill-considered'' and ''poorly managed''.
PSO would have posted a $239,000 deficit this year but it was
offset by one-off surplus funds from discontinued operations,
which left an operating surplus of $82,000.
However, for the coming year PSO had no buffer or offset and
with resources such as donations and bequests declining, the
organisation would have to ''further sharpen'' its
operations, he said.
''We remain a major figure in providing social services in
Chief executive Gillian Bremner said it was a painful process
letting the service go as it affected 400 staff and 1400
''But there are plenty of other opportunities we can
Government funding continued to fall ''well short'' of what
it cost to provide services, Mrs Bremner said.
Guest speaker University of Otago law professor Mark Henaghan
congratulated PSO for not continuing the legal fight over the
loss of contract.
''You did exactly what a community group should do, put the
He urged PSO to resist the trend of becoming ''corporate'' to
compete but to continue with its advocacy, which was crucial
to making change.
''Persistence and love will get you everywhere.''