The Ministry of Health has already offered alternative services for 14 individuals affected by disability provider the Laura Fergusson Trust exiting from contracts and is confident other services will be coordinated in time.
To help ensure this happens the Ministry has a dedicated resource working with clients and their families and whanau to help put in place other arrangements for those affected by the Trust’s decision exit the Ministry’s contracts.
In late October the Laura Fergusson Trust notified the Ministry of Health and other funders that it intended to exit its $4.1m contract in August this year. The Trust told the Ministry its plans after the board had made its decision to exit.
The Ministry is working to ensure that the 124 individuals currently receiving services from the Trust continue to receive ongoing care and support through the transition.
The Ministry is very aware of the importance of respite care provided to families with a family member with a disability – both in the family home and in alternative accommodation.
Our emphasis is on ensuring the best outcome we can arrange for families using these services provided by the Trust.
When informed, the Ministry immediately offered to explore options on how the Trust could continue to provide services under their Ministry contracts. That offer has not been taken up.
The Trust provides respite and residential services from premises in Auckland, Waikato and Whanganui.
Since November the Ministry has met with the Acting Chair, CEO and Board to discuss options and has also offered specialist financial assistance. This offer has also not been taken up.
We continue to work with the Trust, other agencies and the families and whanau of individuals using the services of the Trust through this transition process.
The Director-General of Health has offered to sit down with the Trust and continues to be willing to do so.
We understand that the Trust will continue to provide services to people with disabilities and any decisions about what that might be will be made by the Trust.
In our experience, it’s rare for providers to exit services and it’s typical for the Ministry to be informed before providers any decisions are made about exiting Ministry contracts.
The Ministry continues to work with service providers on a range of matters as part of its usual business.