Court dumps challenge to home-help care

A healthcare provider's claim that Capital & Coast District Health Board's tender process was flawed when it reviewed its home-based support contracts has been dismissed by the High Court.

The DHB dumped Healthcare New Zealand as a home-help provider last year, awarding the contracts to Access Home Health and Presbyterian Support Central, sparking complaints from some clients that services have been cut back.

Healthcare NZ sought an interim injunction in the High Court at Wellington arguing the tender process was flawed. The application was dismissed.

It then sought a judicial review in the High Court. This was dismissed last week by Justice Jill Mallon, who said the DHB was transparent and had complied with its statutory obligations.

"As stated in its annual plan, it intended to achieve ‘more cost effective services' through its new service delivery model without reducing levels of service where they were needed."

DHB chief executive Mary Bonner said the new model was working well, with feedback from clients "showing the overall satisfaction with the service delivery".

"We want to ensure that clients continue to have timely and appropriate access to a range of home assistance and support."

Healthcare NZ chief executive Peter Hausmann said the provider was reviewing the decision.

"We took the case because, as one of the larger providers of home-based support services, we believed the funding and planning approach of Capital & Coast District Health Board was improper and illegal.

"This case has never been about losing the contract in 2011 - we do not want the contract back."

The Dominion Post