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Care Sector Welcomes National's Policy

6 September 2005

Aged Residential Care Sector Welcomes National's Policy Commitments The National Party today released its policy for aged residential care. "The National Party policy for aged residential care contains good ideas and we are very pleased that they have made the care of elderly a top priority", said Martin Taylor, CEO of HealthCare Providers NZ. The policy focused on three areas:

1. An inflation adjustment passed on specifically to the providers each year.

"We welcome this, as it is a very important element of making the sector sustainable. Presently, the sector has to ask DHBs to pass on inflation adjustments, and DHBs are reluctant to do so."

"At the moment we are in negotiations with DHBs relating to this year's budget allocation, an allocation they say contains no new money or any direction for them to spend it in aged residential care - the present system does not work for the sector".

2. A comprehensive review of the aged care sector.

"The only way to establish once and for all the true price of providing care to our elderly, is through a comprehensive review of the sector. This is a key component of making the sector sustainable".

3. A further $35 million of new money per year into the Aged Residential Care contract from April 1, 2006 and a mechanism applied so that the sector receives the money directly through the DHBs. "A commitment to inject $35 million into the sector equates to an increase of about 4% for providers. Although this does not solve the 20% under funding issue, it is a good start and an increase which residential care providers would welcome."

"It is clear that National has picked up on important issues in the aged residential care sector. There are many details to work through with National, but today's policy commitments show they are willing to provide leadership and address the present crisis in aged residential care", said Martin Taylor.

ENDS

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