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Call For Funding For ''Invisible Workforce''

National Residential Intellectual Disability Providers Group (NRID)

Call for funding for “invisible workforce”

For Immediate Release
December 22, 2004

The $380 million pay offer to public hospital nurses will have huge consequences for the mental health and disability sector says the head of a national organisation representing providers of support for people with intellectual disabilities.

While the government this week announced it will give district health boards an additional $18m to fund residential care for older people, to address issues such as the recent nurses’ settlement and the impact of the Holidays Act, National Residential Intellectual Disability Providers Group (NRID) chairperson Marese McGee is questioning where the extra funding is for the community sector.

Ms McGee said there would be a flow-on effect from the nurses’ settlement for health professionals involved in the intellectual disability sector who seem to be an “invisible workforce” currently.

“It will not only affect pay-rates of clinicians in hospitals but also non-clinical staff. It will have severe consequences for the community sector competing in the same labour market as the provider arm of the DHBs.”

Ms McGee wanted to see increased funding for the community sector to meet the anticipated higher pay-rates.

“Primary care is already getting a huge injection of capital from the Primary Health Strategy from the current government whereas cries for more funding for the disability sector seem to be falling on deaf ears. The matter has been raised time and time again with both the Ministry of Health and the Minister for Disability Ruth Dyson.”

Ms McGee said she applauded the move this week for the disability sector to have representation on a new working group lead by the Ministry of Health to look into the Future Funding of the Older Persons and Disability Support Service Sectors, to ensure the sectors are sustainable. She hoped that impact of the working party would be seen sooner rather than later.

“We’ve been waiting a long time; we now need to see some results.”

In order for quality staff to continue to be attracted to the sector, the Government needed to provide appropriate funding.

Ms McGee said it was very important, given the Government’s Health Strategy and the New Zealand Disability Strategy that the community sector remained well-resourced to meet the needs of people with disabilities already living in the community.

“The disability community now awaits its turn for an increase in funding.”

ENDS

About NRID: NRID is an incorporated body of providers of residential support for people with intellectual disabilities. It represents all major intellectual disability providers as well as many small providers throughout New Zealand. Its members are contracted to the Ministry of Health to provide residential support options to people with intellectual disabilities. The members of NRID employ a large number of staff, mostly in community support worker roles, but also many clinically trained professionals.

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