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Aged Care Sector Cabinet Paper Ignores Reality

10 May 2005

Aged Care Sector Cabinet Paper Ignores Reality

At a time when residential care facilities are in crisis the Labour Government today released a Cabinet paper that states it will, "investigate the extent to which current funding, policy and regulation of residential care services for older people is exacerbating the pressures in the sector" after the election.

"It seems the Labour government has ignored the reality that they are to blame for resthome closures and sales due to a critical lack of funding".

"The Cabinet paper also glosses over the reality that the government controls the whole sector. DHBs run managed bed policies, determine who can have access to residential care, set the price for that care, set the regulations on how that care should be provided, and then set the market price for nurses through their MECA settlements".

Another red-herring in the Cabinet paper is the statement that the Government has increased spending in the sector by $16million so that providers could be paid a 3% increase. "

"What the government fails to mention is that this 3% was backdated compensation for inflation for the 2003-2004 year. It also doesn't mention that providers have not yet received this money, that they haven't been compensated for inflation for the 2004-2005 financial year, or that they have not yet received one cent for the Holidays Act."

The most ominous omission in the whole document is that there is no direct statement saying that the residential care sector will receive any increase in this year's budget.

"Homecare is mentioned, as is the generic Aged Care sector, but residential care is ignored. This leads me to believe that residential care providers will again be ignored."

"The short and medium term consequences of a lack of aged care funding, in tandem with increasing demand will mean the elderly will be denied access to the care they need when they need it the most" said Martin Taylor CEO of HealthCare Providers NZ.

ENDS

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