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Budget Leaves Aged Care Out in the Cold

18 May 2006

Budget Leaves Aged Care Out in the Cold

“This year’s Budget will make little, if any, difference to the poverty pay rates in aged care and fails to deliver on election promises of significant extra funding for the sector,” said New Zealand Nurses Organisation spokesperson Rob Haultain today.

“This budget leaves dedicated caregivers, nurses and support staff in aged care out in the cold,” she said.

Rob Haultain said the $126 million funding government has announced for the aged care sector amounted to an extra $17 million a year, plus some inflation adjustment, in the cash strapped residential aged care sector.

Rob Haultain said it was hard to work out how the increase could amount to “significant pay increases for New Zealanders working in the sector,” the Health Minister says this increase will deliver.

“Everyone knows this sector is in crisis, with a 40 per cent turnover and hopelessly inadequate staffing levels and training,” she said.

“There are around 25,000 underpaid registered and enrolled nurses, caregivers and support staff in residential aged care,” she said.

“Even if the entire extra funding went into pay increases, it would amount to just 51 cents an hour for a caregiver currently on the average rate of $10.85 an hour.

“That is not a significant pay increase and will not fix the huge problems in the sector or value the workforce for the wonderful job they do.

“How long will those who do one of the hardest and least valued jobs in New Zealand have to wait to be valued and how long will the public tolerate inadequate funding for fair pay, staffing levels and training in residential aged care?” said Rob Haultain.


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