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National Will Boost Elderly Care Services

17 June 2002

National will increase funding for aged care residential services so that older people are not being left at home to fend for themselves for too long, National Associate Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott said today.

Speaking to the Residential Care Association Annual Conference in Christchurch today, Dr Scott said district health boards would provide a comprehensive health service to older New Zealanders that included appropriate assessment, treatment and rehabilitation and community services. "Every New Zealander wants their mum and dad to be well cared for," Dr Scott said.

"Older people, and the residential care sector, have been disadvantaged under the current Government. It has ignored the growing problem of elder abuse, and despite Helen Clark's promises at the opening of Parliament this year, it has not increased funding for elder abuse services at all.

"We will assist people to remain independent in their own home and communities for as long as possible through an Ageing at Home policy. However, they will only remain at home while they have an environment that is safe.

"There have been numerous stories in the media, including The Press 'Dying in the Dark' series, which illustrate that the balance has shifted too far towards older people looking after themselves when they can't cope and when they need help.

"National will continue the process of national contracts which we started in our last term of Government. At that time an extra $54 million over three years was required.

"We are committed to meeting that undertaking as well as increasing funding for carer relief and community support. All New Zealanders want quality aged residential care for their parents when this is needed. This is not happening because Labour is ignoring the sector. We will put this right," Dr Scott said.


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