A Glenorchy resident
says the Southern Primary Health Organisation should cut one
of its "job-created bureaucrats" instead of axing funding for
weekly community nurse practitioner visits.
From July 1, the SPHO may no longer fund the $11,000 needed
annually to hold two-hour weekly nurses' outreach clinics,
and they may be axed.
Resident Ian Kirkland said if the SPHO "got rid of a couple
of their bureaucrats who are job-creating down there in
Dunedin", the subsidy could be easily covered.
The funding was "peanuts", his wife Elaine said, and cutting
the subsidy could put the isolated town's 450 residents in
"The effects of not having it is that people might let health
problems go, or people will have to go to Queenstown ... then
further down the track their condition worsens, which is then
an increased cost to the Government," she said.
"It's more cost effective for them to have something on the
ground than the alternatives."
The Glenorchy Community Association is weighing up how to
continue funding the service if the SPHO pulls out. The
association already raises $3500 a year towards the service.
SPHO chairman Dr Conway Powell said the new unitary
authority, created in October when Otago and Southland's nine
PHOs amalgamated, had inherited many existing health-related
"Our budget is tight ... It's just a consequence of the
merging of the PHOs," he said.
Cutting funding for Glenorchy's visiting nurse was a matter
of providing "equality of access", across the SPHO area, Dr
"Wakatipu PHO thought the Glenorchy programme was important.
What we've come up with is a different set of priorities
across the region," he said.
Programmes like Glenorchy's had to be capable of "rolling out
across the region" and could not exist in isolation, he said.
Dr Powell said one solution the Glenorchy community could
consider to save the service was applying to the SPHO's
contestable $150,000 health innovation fund for 2011-12.
SPHO community advisory board chairman Tony Hill said the
future of the programme would remain uncertain while
consultation about other clinical programmes was undertaken.
"I don't think it's the death knell, but it's a tough one to