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Survey Reveals Dramatic Undervaluing of Caregivers

New Survey Reveals Dramatic Undervaluing of Caregivers

Today is International Day of the Older Person. Instead of celebrating, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation is asking New Zealanders to ask the question of themselves and their local communities “What if we really cared?”

“The care of older people requiring hospital, rest home and home support services in New Zealand in 2004 is put at risk because of a critical funding shortage for aged care hospitals and services,” said NZNO’s Aged Care Coordinator, Cee Payne-Harker.

An NZNO survey released today shows that caregivers’ pay is shamefully low, with more than 97% of caregivers surveyed earning less than their partners and their children.

“It’s not surprising that many hospitals and services for older people cannot recruit and retain sufficient staff to provide adequate services,” said Cee Payne-Harker.

She said that the survey showed caregivers’ pay rates were routinely lower than a wide range of other skilled and semi skilled occupations and averaged around $11.00 per hour.

“If we really cared about older people we would make sure the aged care sector was adequately funded,” she said.

“We’d make sure we had enough staff to care for older people needing hospital care and we would make sure caregivers were trained and paid a fair wage for the important job that they do.”

The survey found over 90% of caregivers surveyed were extremely dissatisfied with their current pay rates and believed that they deserved to be paid more or much more.

“After a decade of underfunding in the aged care sector the results of the survey come as no surprise,” said Cee Payne-Harker.

“Collective bargaining has made little impact on the historic undervaluing of caregivers work and combined with the current lack of funding increases in the sector a significant government and industry initiative is required to address low pay for caregivers.”

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