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Report shows services in crisis

10 May 2005

Working Party Report shows services in crisis, says Age Concern

The working party report clearly shows that services for older people are underfunded and in crisis, says Kerry Dalton, Chief Executive of Age Concern NZ.

Ms Dalton was a member of the working party.

“We are pleased to see that the Government intends to increase funding, says Ms Dalton”.

“However whether the crisis in current services is addressed really depends on how much money is allocated in the Budget when it is announced.”

“The outcome we want is holistic needs assessment for older people, providing timely access to support services that are flexible, responsive to an older person’s needs and focus on support independence and well-being”, says Ms Dalton. “This is the goal under the Health of Older People Strategy.”

“Holistic needs assessment is crucial to ensuring that people’s needs are properly assessed leading to appropriate services. We have a high degree of concern with current needs assessment and co-ordination being used to ration services in a non-transparent way to manage government costs, says Ms Dalton.”

“We are not confident that the work signalled in the Cabinet paper in relation to current needs assessment and co-ordination agencies will get us away from this.

“What we want to see is a faster implementation of the holistic needs assessment using the interRAI tool. We are concerned to see that in the Cabinet paper it looks like older people will be waiting for between 2-4 years for national implementation of holistic needs assessment. It needs to be much faster than this. The working party named it as a high priority.”

“We are also concerned that it will be at least 18 months before the Home and Community Sector Standard become mandatory, when the Ministry of Health Quality and Safety Report identified significant safety concerns with these services. We would like to see the Government to allocate funding to speed up the implementation of this Standard,” says Ms Dalton.


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