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Budget Spend to Support Aged Care

Budget Spend to Support Aged Care

Health Minister Tony Ryall and Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew announced an extra $70m over the next four years to support Aged Care and dementia services.

The statement that New Zealand faces a growing tide of dementia is a sad fact. However nowhere in the announcement did we see the projections for arthritis and its financial impact on New Zealand’s economy and health costs.

Arthritis New Zealand is frequently contacted by people with arthritis, who are struggling to get appropriate Home Help. In addition we have a number of clients, under the age of 65, who are being told they have no entitlements.

There are 530,000 New Zealanders with arthritis with half of these being over 65 years of age. Given the ageing population it is reasonable to expect that the number of people with arthritis will grow.

“Being able to manage simple household tasks like cleaning is often a challenge for people whose mobility is impaired by arthritis” says Sandra Kirby, Chief Executive of Arthritis New Zealand. “Many people end up in care earlier than they would like because of a lack of support to keep them at home”

In 2010 the cost of arthritis to the New Zealand Health budget was $695million[i]. but despite ongoing economic research and ageing data arthritis is still not considered a health priority and the impact of the condition on people not recognised for its significant impact on lives and families.

Arthritis New Zealand challenges District Health Boards to ensure consideration is given to arthritis as they look to the additional $33.2m they have been given and to the Ministers to pause and take time to consider the impacts of arthritis on the 530,000 New Zealanders who are living with the condition

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