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Concern at decline in rural home based care

1 July 2005

Rural Women New Zealand voice concern at decline in rural home based care services

At the national conference of Rural Women New Zealand held in Dunedin this week delegates expressed their deep concern at the state of the home based care industry.

The conference was attended by approximately 400 women from throughout the country who were united in their decision that Rural Women New Zealand urge the Government “to urgently arrest the grave erosion of equity of access to home based aged care services to rural communities by paying the travel costs and travel time of Homecare workers who have to travel more than 15kms return to care for their clients.”

The Health of Older People Strategy (Action 3.6) undertakes that "The Ministry will develop a co-ordinated approach to facilitate access by rural people, including older people, to appropriate and sustainable services." Despite this undertaking, the Government has taken no action to arrest the steady erosion of home based services to rural people when the cause of that erosion is both known and capable of being immediately addressed.

The home-based care industry is currently facing a crisis in recruitment and retention of workers and it is important that these issues are addressed immediately.

While the recent Budget funding increase will have some limited positive impact for home based services generally, it will not address the reason for the continuing erosion of services to the rural community - the continuing failure to recognise the travel component of delivering rural services. With increased fuel and travel costs the failure to recognise this added cost on the already inadequate remuneration of carers is completely unjustifiable. The service is reliant on support workers traveling to a client’s home.

ENDS

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