Many sign to support contract

Disability Resource Centre Southland general manager Debbie Webster fought to try to keep the centre from losing its contract with the Southern District Health Board.
Disability Resource Centre Southland general manager Debbie Webster fought to try to keep the centre from losing its contract with the Southern District Health Board.

More than 11,000 signatures have been collected in the south, demanding that the Southern District Health Board retain the joint Disabilities Resource Centre Southland (DRCS) and Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) home- based services contract.

The petition, which closed on Monday at 5pm, although signatures from throughout Southland and Otago were still trickling in yesterday, comes as the PSO decides whether it will take legal action against the board, which has said the decision to dump the contract will not be reversed.

Centre general manager Debbie Webster said she had collected 2000 signatures on the petition at the front desk of the Invercargill centre alone. Other signatures had been submitted online, or collected door to door.

She hoped presenting the signatures to the board would influence its decision, she said.

Last month, the southern-based providers were told their contract would not be renewed when it runs out in June and Royal District Nursing Service New Zealand, which is Auckland-based and is run by its Australian parent company, had been selected instead.

The health board said the selection process was robust and fair.

The PSO and DRCS legal counsel said the health board's selection process was found to be flawed, but the PSO asked the health board for a meeting, rather than take legal action.

However on Friday, health board chairman Joe Butterfield said the health board's decision would not be revisited and no meeting had been planned.

The Southland Times understands the PSO board will now meet later this week to discuss its options.

The Southland Times