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PM Wide Of The Mark On Aged Residential Care

PRESS RELEASE

4 July 2005

PM Wide Of The Mark On Aged Residential Care Funding

In a letter to elderly New Zealanders the Prime Minister claims funding is now ‘increasing rapidly for aged residential care’.

The irony of this statement was not lost on aged care providers who will this week finally receive a 3% inflation adjustment for the 2003-2004 year, and who have had to wait almost a year for partial Holiday’s Act compensation.

“The PM’s assertion also glosses over the reality that the costs of providing top level care are rising rapidly, and ignores the difficulty providers are having recruiting nurses after the government increased funding for DHB nurse wages by 21%. One provider suggested the PM should change rapidly to glacially if she wanted to be accurate”.

The Prime Minister’s statement must also be read in light of the following facts:

- The aged residential share of the Health Budget has dropped from 7% to 5% since 1999, when Labour came to power

- From 2000 to 2004 total health spend is up 6.7% pa per capita, but over same 4 years spending in residential care pa per capita in the over 65s bracket is down by -1%.

- The sector is forced to campaign each year just to get an inflation adjustment, let alone a base line increase.

Over the last two years the sector has seen the exit of providers such as the Salvation Army, Presbyterian Support Northern, and the Methodist Mission, not to mention about forty other rest home closures spread throughout the country.

“If the Prime Minister wants her Labour government to solve the crisis in aged residential care she needs to ensure that the under-funding gap causing the present crisis is addressed and addressed quickly”, says Martin Taylor CEO of HealthCare Providers NZ


ENDS

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