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A New Year For Elderly Kiwis

A New Year For Elderly Kiwis

HealthCare Providers NZ says 2007 will bring big challenges to the Government to improve care for elderly Kiwis.

Chief Executive Martin Taylor said his organisation will work to ensure the Government, the country's District Health Boards and the wider community accept that aged residential health care is a core health service.

"By the Ministers own admission, the aged care sector of our health system is underfunded. The DHBs refuse to pass on yearly inflation adjustments for aged care and wages for caregivers need to be increased – these are two very important factors that need to be resolved," Mr Taylor said.

"The Government will increase minimum wages for the low paid, but hasn't shown the leadership and increased funding for the aged residential care sector. Some workers in rest homes are now earning just over minimum wage and nurses are still earning much less than their counterparts in DHB hospitals and the provide health sector.

"It's time for some parity. Funding for nurse and caregiver wages must be increased so that the sector can pay these hard working individuals a better wage and show our elderly that they are valued as much as other members of our community," Mr Taylor said.

Other needs for the sector in 2007 are:

- That the elderly should receive the same priority for the health dollar as other vulnerable groups;

- That the costs of caring for the elderly in residential care are insulated from inflation, in the same was as superannuation payments;

- That funding increases to a level where there is pay parity between aged care nurses and DHB nurses;
- That DHBs support the "Aging in Place" strategy by allowing elderly couples to keep their subsidies if they buy an apartment attached to a rest home;

- That respite care and relief care is accessible for the elderly in all parts of New Zealand when they need it.

HealthCare Providers NZ asks that over 2007 the public make their views known to the Government. Aged residential care is providing homes and a community for tens of thousands of elderly each and every year. "We want the public to support our campaign in 2007 because everyone is getting a little older every year," Mr Taylor said.


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