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Unions demand a fair share for aged care

September 30, 2002

Unions demand a fair share for aged care

Quality care for older people and a fair deal for those who work in aged care are the demands being made by the Nurses’ Organisation (NZNO) and the Service and Food Workers’ Union (SFWU) on the International Day of the Older Person tomorrow.

Designated by the United Nations, October 1 is being marked by the distribution of 8000 copies of a leaflet outlining threats to quality care for older New Zealanders in rest-homes and hospitals. In Auckland, union leaders and delegates will distribute leaflets in shopping malls throughout the city. Members of the public will also be invited to sign a petition calling on the Government for increased funding for the sector, adequate staffing, and nationally recognised training for nurses and caregivers.

Although most elderly people live in their own homes, nearly 30,000 older New Zealanders require rest-home and hospital care, says NZNO spokesperson Lesley Harry. Quality care for these people is dependent on nurses and caregivers having the conditions in which to deliver that care.

“Presently quality care is being threatened by severe nursing shortages in aged care facilities, heavy workloads for nurses and caregivers, fragmented and expensive education and training, and wages that have not kept up with cost of living increases,” she said.

“A sharp increase in the numbers of people over 65 is expected in the next 50 years – 12 percent at present, reaching 25 percent by 2051. Over the past three years, our real gross domestic product per capita has risen by 8.4 percent. NZNO and SFWU are calling on MPs to support a similar increase in aged care funding in their electorates, plus a further percentage required to fund the increasing numbers of elderly people in care, and to make up for the earlier four-year freeze.”


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