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Calls For Aged Care Funding

2 December 2004

Health Select Committee Backs Calls For Aged Care Funding

The New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation has welcomed the response of the parliamentary Health Select Committee to a petition from 3,000 caregivers, released in a report today.

The petition, signed by members of NZNO and the Service and Food Workers Union, called for government funding for caregiver training and recognition of extra qualifications in caregivers’ pay.

The Health Select Committee has made two key recommendations – that Government ensures fully funded foundation skills training is available for caregivers and provides additional funding to the aged-care sector.

“Caregiving is skilled work and yet around half of the caregiving workforce has no access to training,” said NZNO Aged Care coordinator Cee Payne-Harker.

“Staff turnover is up to 40%. This means thousands of caregivers leave every year and the vacancies are filled by untrained staff.”

The average hourly rate for caregivers is $10.80.

Cee Payne-Harker said government needed to act on the recommendations of the select committee with urgency, as the aged care sector was in a funding crisis.

Cee Payne-Harker said fully funded foundation skills training would have a direct positive impact on the quality of care provided to older persons in residential and home care settings and a significant impact on workforce recruitment and the ongoing retention of caregiving staff.

ENDS

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