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Review of funding for elderly care welcomed

Review of funding for elderly care welcomed

National Senior Citizens Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott says she is delighted that the Health Select Committee has agreed that funding levels for elderly care must be reviewed.

"I have been calling for the Government to relook at the funding for elderly patients in residential care for the past three years," she said.

"The petition by David Nelson of Wellington City Mission and 8550 others to the committee outlined how desperate aged care facilities are.

"Associate Minister of Health Ruth Dyson needs to recognise she has been significantly underfunding the aged care sector. There has not been a per patient increase in funding for the hospital-level care of elderly patients since 1997.

Answers to Dr Scott's questions show that between the 1998-99 financial year and 2000-01 the funding for rest home care dropped almost $10m from $185,492,102 to $176,867,221.

"Funding for dementia care increased marginally in that time. Geriatric hospitals have received no increase since 1997.

"In the last three years rest home and residential care costs have increased significantly.

"Mr Nelson said facilities have had to cut their services, cut level of care for patients or close because they simply couldn't afford to go on. The result was that 40 aged care facilities closed last year.

"I am pleased that we have now got a review so we can stop the run down of care for our most frail and vulnerable older New Zealanders," said Dr Scott.

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