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Government Under Funding Hurts Nurses, Caregivers

12 August 2005

Government Under Funding Hurts Nurses and Caregivers in Aged Care

The second, “Who Cares? You Should,” campaign theme focuses on unfair nurse and caregiver pay rates in aged residential care, caused by government under funding.

Nurses and caregivers working in public hospitals earn up to 50% more than nurses and caregivers in aged residential care. This is because the government funds their nurses and caregivers at a far higher rate than nurses and caregivers in aged residential care.

“Providers, unions and nurses all agree that this is grossly unfair.”

“The unfairness of the situation is further underlined by the fact that nurses and caregivers working in aged care facilities and units still operated by the government appear to be paid at NZNO MECA pay rates.”

At present DHBs run 21 facilities or units through their public hospitals (see attached information). HealthCare Providers in an Official Information Act request asked each DHB whether the aged care facilities or units were covered by the NZNO MECA.

“Only four DHBs replied and from their responses we can conclude that government run aged care facilities are funded at higher rates than their private sector counterparts. This allows them to pay their nurses and caregivers at higher levels.”

“This is unfair because aged care nurses and caregivers do a great job looking after 46,000 elderly New Zealanders every year and are just as valuable as their public hospital counterparts.

“Aged residential care deserves to be funded at a level where we can have pay parity with the public hospital nurses. If this does not happen, the appalling turnover rate of 29% in aged residential care will continue, and we will lose more nurses and caregivers”

“If this situation continues, many more residential care facilities will close. They will have no choice, as you cannot legally operate a resthome or geriatric hospital without nurses and caregivers”.

“The current situation is bad enough, but by 2021, we will need another 4,500 nurses in residential care. This means 300 registered nurses need to start – and stay – working in aged care each year, for the next fifteen years.”

“Once more, we say that this crisis will not be solved until the sector is funded fairly and sustainably. Our challenge to all political parties is to commit to fair funding for the people taking care of our elderly”, said Martin Taylor, Chief Executive of Healthcare Providers.


DISTRICT HEALTH BOARD operated aged residential care facilities /Nurses paid at MECA rates? / Continuing care beds / Rest Home beds / Specialised Hospital Psycho-geriatric beds

Turangi Home No response 14 0 14
Waikari "" 3 0 0
Oxford Hospital "" 6 0 0
Kaikoura Hospital "" 8 7 0
Ellesmere Hospital "" 6 0 0
Darfield "" 3 0 0
Akaroa Hospital "" *5 0 0
Franklin Memorial Hospital No response 15 0 0
Pukekohoe Hospital "" 25 0 0
Motueka Community Hospital No response 10 0 0
Golden Bay Community "" 7 0 0
Arthur McCaa "" Health Centre 5 0 0
Alexandra Hospital "" 0 0 46
Talbot Park Refused to give “commercially sensitive” info 49 0 19
Lakes District Hospital YES 22 37 0
Rhoda Read Hospital YES 40 0 0
Matariki Hospital "" 40 0
Te Kuiti Hospital "" 3 0 0
Seaview Hospital YES 9 0 0
Reefton Hospital "" 17 0 0
Buller Hospital "" 5 0 0

* respite care only

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