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Shortage Of Care As Govt Closes Rest Homes

Shortage Of Care For Elderly As Govt Closes Rest Homes

Dr Lynda Scott

National Health Spokesperson

19 November 2002

Shortage of care for elderly as Govt closes rest homes The Government is continuing to ignore the running down of aged care services, forcing the closure of aged care facilities and the failure of care for our weakest and most vulnerable, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"Forty aged care facilities have closed in the past year, including several in small towns and rural areas, and those that are left operating simply cannot provide the services needed.

"The reason is that the Government subsidy to geriatic hospitals has been frozen for five years and rest homes have had only one increase (less than 2%). It is 18 months since the Government promised it would consult with aged care providers to ensure patients were receiving quality care.

"Nothing has happened. Aged care providers are still facing rising costs but the Government hasn't increased their subsidy, meaning they are having to cut corners in delivering services to the detriment of patients.

"I welcome the Wellington City Mission petition seeking a fair deal for older people in residential care being presented to the Health Selection Committee tomorrow, and I support its call for urgent action on the funding of aged care.

"In support of the petition, Residential Care New Zealand wrote an open letter to Helen Clark complaining the Government was 'squeezing long-term residential care for the elderly' despite recommendations that it increase funding to providers.

"The Prime Minister and Health Minister Annette King have completely ignored calls for improved services for the elderly. Labour must answer if this is how it wants to care for our elderly," Dr Scott said.


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