The independent practitioner association at the centre of
a multimillion-dollar dispute remains adamant it owes nothing
to the Southern District Health Board.
The Otago Daily Times reported at the weekend the
Auditor-general's office expects the board to resolve the
dispute with Dunedin-based South Link Health (SLH) ''without
Dating from the 1990s, the figure has ballooned from $5.3
million to possibly about $15 million with interest. It arose
from disagreement about whether savings from contracts had to
It was referred to in SLH's 2012 financial statement as a
$14.4 million contingent liability. SLH chairman Dr Dean
Millar-Coote said listing a contingent liability fulfilled an
auditing requirement to identify possible liabilities.
''This [contingent liability] does not indicate any
acknowledgement by SLH that any monies are owed to the SDHB.
Quite the reverse - SLH is adamant that no money is owed to
the SDHB; it has all been spent on additional healthcare
programmes and enhanced health practitioner training, as
provided for in the contracts.''
The dispute related to contracts between SLH and the then
Southern Regional Health Authority, a predecessor of the
''A dispute has arisen between SLH and the [health authority]
funder, as to whether or not the funder had agreed that the
additional health programmes should be approved for funding
from the savings made by the SLH general practices.
''SLH is clear that the programmes had been agreed to by
various contract managers representing the funder.
''SLH is also very clear that no money is owed by it to the
Southern DHB and this is borne out by all of the contract
documents, between SLH and the funder of the day,'' Dr
The savings were returned to the community via health
programmes and medical and nursing training, he said, adding
the SLH board hoped the matter would be concluded soon.
Health board chairman Joe Butterfield told the Otago Daily
Times last week he hoped the situation would be
''clarified'' in the new year.