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Nurses Organisation Backs Call For Aged Care Probe

Nurses Organisation Backs Call For Aged Care Inquiry

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation is backing calls for an inquiry into aged care.

A number of MPs have called for an inquiry and the suggestion has been raised that the recently announced inquiry into disability care provider Focus 2000 be extended to include aged care.

“We would welcome an inquiry, as any scrutiny of the sector will reveal that it is massively underfunded and increasingly in crisis,” said NZNO aged care coordinator Rob Haultain.

Rob Haultain said NZNO had been raising a range of serious concerns for many years, along with client advocacy groups and providers.

“Across the sector we can see the evidence of underfunding and lack of regulation daily,” she said.

“That evidence is seen in consistent understaffing, poverty wages, lack of training and a staff turnover of around 40 percent.”

Rob Haultain said NZNO members frequently reported their distress about the impact of short staffing on the quality of care that is able to be delivered to residents.

She said that an inquiry should not only address underfunding and the impact of that underfunding on the quality of care, but also issues of accountability.

“Underfunding has driven most not for profit providers out of the sector,” she said.

“It simply does not make sense to hand over tax payers’ money to wealthy corporates with virtually no accountability for the money for the government subsidy they receive. Any inquiry should investigate mechanisms for ensuring that government subsidies end up in the pockets of the hard working aged care workforce instead of corporate profits.”

Rob Haultain said NZNO anticipated wide political support for an inquiry into aged care.

“In the 2005 election campaigns every political party promised to fix age care funding,” she said.

“The Health Minister admits funding needs to “catch up with requirements”. Let’s get all the stakeholders in the sector together and solve this problem for the sake of our elderly.”

Ends

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