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MidCentral DHB surplus insults low paid home support workers

28 November 2012

MidCentral DHB surplus an insult to low paid home support workers

The Public Service Association is calling on the MidCentral District Health Board to use some of its large surplus to properly fund home support providers and boost workers’ pay.

The DHB has posted a $6.7 million surplus for the 2011/12 financial year. It’s the second consecutive surplus and has exceeded budget expectations.

“It’s astonishing that we have a situation where the DHB is posting multi-million dollar surpluses while it continues to stand by and underfund home support service providers,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“What that underfunding means is that the providers can only afford to pay their workers minimum wages and have not been able to offer pay rises in many years. The DHB’s surplus just adds insult to injury for these workers.”

The low rates MidCentral DHB pays to providers for the delivery of home support and care has also meant cuts to training and supervision for workers as the providers struggle to meet increased costs.

This year’s Human Rights Commission Inquiry into the aged care sector pointed out that home support workers are undervalued and highlighted serious issues of underfunding, low pay, pay inequity and non-funding of travel to and from clients.

Richard Wagstaff says MidCentral Health has the opportunity to do something about that.

“It should do the right thing and use its profits to better fund services and providers so they can pass the increases on and lift the low wages of their workers.”

“It’s also time for central government to take steps to ensure there is some consistency of funding for services which are contracted out by DHBs at rates that allow for decent wages to be paid,” Mr Wagstaff adds.

ENDS

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