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Union Call For More Funding Backed

MEDIA RELEASE

14 December 2006

Healthcare Providers NZ Backs Union Call For More Funding

HealthCare Providers New Zealand, which represents the aged residential care sector, backs calls from the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and Service and Food Workers' Union for increased funding to the elderly care sector.

Mr Martin Taylor, CEO of HealthCare Providers, reiterated concerns that District Health Boards' were delaying negotiations to establish how much funding was needed to compensate providers for the impact of the $500 million DHB/nurse wage settlement on aged care.

"DHB Hospitals and Primary Health Organisations are funded at a higher level for aged care, which has caused an acute shortage of nurses in our sector. The Government needs to address this situation to avert a looming crisis'. Mr Taylor said.

Mr Taylor said the present workforce shortage was becoming critical, and if the problem was not remedied, it could very soon translate into a crisis of care delivery. "The sector will not be able to continue to deliver high quality care or meet future demand if something not done – and done now."

"We welcome the promise by the Minister for more funding, but we are disappointed he has taken a swipe at hundreds of Kiwi small businesses and charitable trusts by implying they are getting rich out of aged care. It's just not the case."

"This sector is not making huge profits and a Ministry of Health report confirms this. Our members need increased funding in order to ensure we maintain high quality staff."

Mr Taylor said that more than 75 percent of the rest homes in New Zealand were owner operated or run by religious and charitable trusts. The remaining facilities were operated by larger companies.

"Most people in this industry are hard working Kiwis, community trusts and religious and welfare organisations. They want to see their staff paid more, but cannot do that with the DHBs and Government sitting on their hands" Mr Taylor said.

ENDS

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