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Providers launches Who Cares? You Should Campaign

Healthcare Providers launches Who Cares? You Should Campaign

Healthcare Providers NZ officially launches its Who Cares? You Should campaign at Sky City in Auckland, 5:15pm, Monday 8th August. The campaign is aimed at highlighting the issues faced in aged residential care and raising awareness with the public.

The campaign will run for a month with nation-wide billboards and a series of full page ads in major daily papers.

“The public needs to know that facilities are closing, wages are low, and the sector is having difficulty attracting and retaining caregivers and nurses”.

“The crisis stems from government funding not meeting the costs of providing aged residential care. A government report in 2000 established the level of underfunding at 20% and not enough has been done over the last five years to address that gap.”

“An example of how the crisis is affecting our communities comes from Hamilton, where a facility is seriously considering closing due to underfunding. The owner – who doesn’t want to close her facility - says that government funding is not enough to cover the costs of providing residential care”.

“The facility in question is the only specialised dementia facility in this rural community, and if it closed residents would have to move away from their families to get the care they need.”

“This is just one story from a sector in crisis. Despite our ageing population, aged residential care has been ignored as a priority, falling from 7% to 5% of the health budget in the past two years.”

“We hope that our campaign will bring home to all people the problems our sector faces, and will also focus our decision makers on what they are going to do to address the crisis”, said Martin Taylor, Healthcare Providers CEO.


Key Facts


The aged residential care sector is currently under funded by 20%.
Funding of residential care has dropped from 7% to 5% of the health budget since 1999.
In the past two years, the per head funding for residential care has decreased, while overall health funding has increased.


Over 40 rest homes have closed in the last two years - at least half of these have been in rural areas.


The solution is simple - a commitment by the next government to fund aged residential care at a fair and sustainable level.
We need increased funding for aged residential care providers of 5% each year for the next three years, a commitment to pay parity with public hospital nurses, and automatic inflation adjustments. That’s not even 2% of the current health budget.

Questions & Answers

How many residential care facilities and geriatric hospitals are there?
827 throughout the country.

Does the government run any residential care facilities?
Yes - a very small number (21). The Government has said it has “no intention to increase this number”.

How many people are in long term residential care and geriatric private hospitals?
At any one time, there are around 33,000, but over a year 46,000 elderly receive care in residential care facilities.

How old are people who go into residential care?
The average age to enter a residential care facility is about 85. Ten years ago the average age was around 75. The needs of elderly entering facilities now are many times greater than they were a decade ago. Today residents require many more care hours and more specialized medical treatment.

Is there is a present crisis in aged care?
Yes - there is a crisis caused by historical and present under-funding of residential care facilities and geriatric private hospitals. Despite general health funding increases, aged residential care has been ignored as a priority. A report released in 2000 found the sector was under funded by at least 20%. Since 1999, funding of residential care has dropped from 7% to 5% of the health budget.

Has underfunding had any effect on services to the elderly?
Over 40 providers have closed in the past two years, roughly half in rural areas. Religious and welfare providers have exited the sector. Quality of care may also be at risk in the future through staff turnover rates and low wages for care givers and nurses.

Acknowledging Underfunding

Prime Minister Helen Clark
“A top priority is to resolve the long term funding pressures in the elder care and disability services sectors” [Statement to Parliament, 1 Feb 2005]

Associate Minister of Health (Older Persons) Hon. Pete Hodgson
“We do accept that there is a funding gap and we do accept that the government has an obligation to address it” [Insight, May 2005]

Government Working Party report
“[There is agreement] of chronic sector under-funding over the last ten years, that the current funding model does not address the impact of underlying cost pressures, and that the current design, funding and delivery of services is not sustainable” [Report of the Working Party on Support Services for Older People and People with Disabilities, Feb 2005]

Health Select Committee
“We are very concerned by evidence of chronic under-funding of the aged-care and disability sectors… This has affected employers’ ability to remunerate caregivers adequately” [Report of the Heatlh Select Committee - Petition 2002/126 of Geoff Annals on behalf of the NZNO and Petition 2002/113 of Lianne Dalziel]

NZNO Aged Care Co-ordinator, Cee Payne-Harker
"There is no doubt that aged care is in crisis and the pay rates of workers in aged care continue to be a disgrace. No wonder that there is such a serious recruitment and retention problem in the sector." [Press Release, 2 August 2005]

Catholic Homes Trust, Secretary, John Grogan
“The industry is under heavy stress because of a lack of funding” [NZ Catholic, May 22 2005]

NZCCSS Vice President, Gillian Bremner
“Government policy is failing – the Health of Older People strategy will not deliver results because of underfunding; and the sector cannot afford to pay fair wages” [NZ Catholic, May 22 2005]

Case Study
Barbara and Chas Falconer,
Rest Home Owner/Operators

The simple facts are that funding is not enough to cover our costs, and if we do not receive a substantial increase in funding in the very near future, we will need to close our facility.

Sadly, this would mean the loss of the only specialised dementia facility in our rural community.

It would also mean job losses for 20 very good, experienced, trained and dedicated caregivers for people with dementia.

Not only that, it would also necessitate our residents having to move to facilities at least an hour away from their families.

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