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Ageing population requires new health focus

27 September 2001 Media Statement


Ageing population requires new health focus


Health service provision for older people must change significantly to meet the demands of New Zealand's ageing population, Associate Health Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

Releasing the draft Health of Older People Strategy in Christchurch, Ms Dyson said New Zealand, like most other countries in the world, has a population that is getting older.

"By 2010, about 13 percent of New Zealanders will be aged 65 and over, and by the middle of the century, that proportion is expected to rise to 25 percent.

"We need to start planning now, so that the structures and funding are in place to meet the needs of current and future generations of older people."

Ms Dyson said some changes needed to occur immediately.

"We need better coordination of health and support services around the needs of older people, a greater emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention, and more emphasis on community-level health care and support so that people can continue to stay in their own homes as they get older."

"We also need to plan for culturally appropriate services to meet the needs of rapidly increasing numbers of older Maori and Pacific people from 2010."

Ms Dyson said the draft strategy provided a much-needed policy framework for the health care of older people, and was in line with National Health Committee recommendations which had been ignored by the previous government.

"The draft strategy sets out a demanding work programme for planners, funders and providers of aged health care to develop services over the next 10 years that are better coordinated, easier to understand and simpler to access."

Underlying the changes, Ruth Dyson said, was the principle of 'integrated continuum of care'.

"Integrated continuum of care enables an older person to move smoothly from one service to another – and sometimes back again - as their needs change over time. It requires close links between the older person, their families and carers, and health professionals in all services."

Ms Dyson said Northland and Canterbury District Health Boards had been chosen as two lead providers to develop the continuum of care model.

"By 2010, we want health services and programmes in place that promote the wellbeing of older people, their control over their lives, and their ability to participate in - and contribute to - social, family, whanau and community life."


A number of public meetings will be held around the country to discuss the draft Health of Older People Strategy (see timetable attached). Written submissions close on 9 November. The final strategy will be released early in 2002, and implementation will be completed by 2010.

Copies of the draft Health of Older People Strategy, which includes a guide to making a submission, are available from the Ministry of Health, PO Box 5013, Wellington or on the website: www.moh.govt.nz


ENDS

Public meetings to discuss draft Health of Older People Strategy

The draft Health of Older People Strategy sets out Government’s policy for the future direction of health and support services for older people. It provides a framework for service planning, funding and delivery. The key focus is on promoting healthy, active life and integrating services around the needs of older people, their family, whanau and caregivers.

The Government is seeking feedback on the proposed direction and actions in the draft strategy. You are invited to comment by making a written submission, on behalf of a group or as an individual. A guide to making a submission is provided on page viii of the document. You are also welcome to attend any of the public meetings, hui or fono listed below.

AUCKLAND Fickling Centre 10.00am – 12.00 general
11 October (Thursday) Cnr Mt Albert & Mt Eden Rds

WHANGAREI Quality Hotel 10.00am – 12.00 general
12 October (Friday) Riverside Drive

AUCKLAND 15a Jack Conway Avenue 2.00pm – 5.00 hui
15 October (Monday) Manukau City

HAMILTON Celebrating Age Centre 10.00am – 12.00 general
16 October (Tuesday) 30 Victoria Avenue

ROTORUA Tunohopu Marae 2.00pm – 5.00 hui
17 October (Wednesday) Ohinemutu

HASTINGS Age Concern 10.00am – 12.00 general
18 October (Thursday) 440 West Heretaunga St

WELLINGTON St John’s in the City Hall 10.00am – 12.00 general
24 October (Wednesday) Cnr Willis & Dixon Sts

PORIRUA Te Akapuanga Hall 10.00am – 12.00 fono
25 October (Thursday) Warspite Avenue, Cannons Creek Shopping Centre

CHRISTCHURCH Age Concern 10.00am – 12.00 general
29 October (Monday) 64 Cashel St

CHRISTCHURCH Rehua Marae 2.00pm – 5.00 hui
29 October (Monday) 79 Springfield Rd

DUNEDIN Octagon Club 10.00am – 12.00 general
30 October (Tuesday) The Octagon

NELSON Age Concern Centre 10.00am – 12.00 general
2 November (Friday) 67 Trafalgar St

AUCKLAND Hotel Centra 2.00pm – 4.00 fono
5 November (Monday) 128 Albert St

AUCKLAND Lakeside Convention Centre 6.00pm – 8.00 fono
5 November (Monday) Montgomerie Rd, Manukau City

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