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Tactics used to intimidate elderly care providers

Divide and Rule Tactics used to intimidate elderly care providers

District Health Boards New Zealand (DHBNZ) is attempting to thwart negotiations over funding of private hospitals and rest homes by using “divide and rule” tactics to force providers to accept a 1 percent increase, which represents about 88 cents-per-day.

Private hospitals and rest homes in New Zealand have agreed that the “Provider Representative Coalition”, which includes Residential Care New Zealand, would act as their agent to finalise a deal between DHBNZ and the rest home industry.

On behalf of its members, the Coalition has been telling DHBNZ that the 1 percent offer was an insult to the elderly of this country.

“We have told DHBNZ from the very beginning that there is a major funding shortfall for providers of elderly care in this country. Their 1 percent offer goes nowhere near that and is an insult to the people who have worked to get our nation where it is today,” Residential Care New Zealand CEO Martin Taylor said today.

DHBNZ is attempting to circumvent the agreed process of negotiating with the Coalition and says it will talk to individual providers about funding. DHBNZ told the Coalition that it had no further place in the negotiations and that the Board would approach the Coalition’s individual members about changes to Aged Residential Care (ARC) Contracts.

This move follows the Coalition rejecting the 1% offer by DHBNZ. The Coalition proposed an interim solution of a 3 percent increase and requested a high-level forum with the Government to develop long-term funding security for this important sector.

“This is a classic divide and rule tactic to get our members to accept a lower-than-inflation offer.” Mr Taylor said the Coalition would talk to its members to ensure they don’t get railroaded into agreeing to an offer that means they’ll receive a less-than-acceptable increase.

The Provider Representative Coalition represents almost all providers in the elderly care sector. “If I were to use union language, the DHB’s are trying to break the ‘strike’ by going around the aged residential care providers legal representatives and intimidating each one on an individual basis,” Mr Taylor said.

“Only yesterday we saw the Salvation Army withdrawing from providing residential care for the elderly because of under funding. It’s not difficult to understand why they made the decision to leave the sector in light of the dubious tactics and arrogant approach by the DHBs. I am sure the Government would not condone this type of behaviour from its representatives,” he said.

Max Robins, President of NZ Private Hospital Association, said: “This is an incredibly arrogant approach by DHBNZ, we have been working with them for six months on specific clauses of the Aged Residential Care Contract as well as a funding increase, and now they tell us that they don’t want to work with us and that we don’t represent our members.”

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