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Will Govt Continue To Cut Elder Care Funding?

3 May 2001

Minister of Senior Citizens Lianne Dalziel avoided questions in the House today about plans for funding to rest homes and elder care hospitals, National's Senior Citizens spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott said.

"I am expecting the Government will again ignore the needs of our most frail elderly in this month's budget.

"By giving them no extra money Lianne Dalziel is effectively cutting funding as hospitals battle rising food, fuel, wage increases and other costs. Inflation is currently 3.1 percent and funding cuts have seen religious and welfare homes exit the service in the last two years after they lost the struggle to provide quality care for the price this Government will pay.

"Our elderly have been well cared for in the past but this government is letting Aged Care drift towards crisis. In parliament Lianne Dalziel failed to answer questions about why the Government has ignored this growing crisis for 18 months.

"Elderly in hospitals and rest homes haven't had any increase in funding for four years. For two of those years the HFA and industry worked co-operatively on a pricing strategy.

"This Government is ignoring the resulting recommendations, in the PriceWaterhouseCooper study, and won't make a decision. Costs have increased 6 percent in that time so they are actually taking a 6 percent funding cut.

"The care of our elderly in rest homes is also deteriorating as homes struggle to keep afloat. The only ones surviving are the big corporates. The problems of elder abuse in homes which this government promised it would work to stamp out will only increase as facilities strive to cut costs.

"This is absolutely unacceptable and I seek urgent funding injection to elderly and geriatric services. These hospitals and homes provide a high level of care that must be funded to an adequate level," Dr Scott said.

Ends


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