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Risk to aged care funding

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokesperson

21 February 2003

Risk to aged care funding

The Government needs to ring fence funding for disability support services and aged care when it moves the responsibility of funding those areas from the Ministry of Health to district health boards, National says.

From October disability support services, most of which is residential aged care, will be funded from district health boards (DHBs) rather than the Ministry.

National Health and Senior Citizens Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott said disability services were likely to lose funding through the change as DHBs cut corners to reduce their deficits.

"We are already seeing this corner cutting by boards in other areas.

"The pharmacy contract is being held up by boards as they try to cut costs, Capital and Coast DHB has stopped outsourcing cardiac surgery to cut costs and mental health budgets are being investigated because some boards have spent the money earmarked for mental health on other things to cut costs.

"The day after the Health Select Committee has announced a review of funding for aged residential care because elderly people have not been getting the care they need, it is disappointing to find that this funding will now be coming from DHBs who will have the autonomy to reduce it.

"The DHBs are under such big financial strain they are very likely to try and save money in this area and cut funding.

"The Government must guarantee that disability support and residential aged care services will not lose money through this change. The only way to prevent this is for the Government to ring fence this funding," Dr Scott said.


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