Merger not 'a Pegasus takeover'

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 09/11/2012

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Two of Canterbury's largest primary health organisations will merge.

Partnership Health, which supports about 368,000 people enrolled in healthcare services in Christchurch and Selwyn, will wind up on February 28, when its staff and projects will be taken over by Pegasus Health, the largest general practice organisation in Canterbury.

Pegasus Health chairman Martin Seers said some people may be wary of the change, but a postal vote of Pegasus members last month showed 91 per cent supported it. "Some people will say it's just a Pegasus takeover," he said.

"The intent was to bring together the best of both organisations, not lose any of the good things, and move forward in terms of Pegasus Health as a community-configured healthcare organisation working in the community sector."

Partnership Health chairman Andrew Hornblow said the change was about creating an organisation that was more effective for patients.

"With an increasing ageing population there are additional pressures on people sometimes having more than one health condition. What we're trying to do is better integrate [services] right across the span, from prevention to management," he said.

The merger would see Pegasus Health broaden its focus to look at improving and maintaining the health and wellbeing of the population, rather than just the patients of its own GPs.

About 15 staff working for Partnership Health, which was established in 2004, could be affected by the merger, but most worked on contracted projects, Hornblow said.

"The bulk of the staff will transfer across. One or two may possibly choose to do other things. We're not really anticipating major upheavals."

The Canterbury District Health Board supported the merger, and the two organisations were working through the "nuts and bolts" of amalgamating, he said.

A community board would be set up to oversee the organisation's community strategies and nominations would be sought in the new year.

Hornblow said the merger would also give the potential for new initiatives to be developed with groups such as the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and non-government organisations.

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- The Press

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