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Government Fails Elderly Again

3 December 2004

Government Fails Elderly Again

The Government’s under-funding of the aged-care sector further demonstrates its lack of regard for the elderly says New Zealand First’s health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“Not only do the elderly feature predominantly on hospital waiting lists, but those who care for them are overworked and poorly paid.

“The Health Select Committee has recommended that caregivers be paid better and that training be available to them. However this is only a recommendation and there is no guarantee or commitment that Government action will follow.

“The Salvation Army announced this week that it will sell 12 rest homes because the serious shortfall between costs and government funding made them uneconomic to run. After 70 years of providing residential care the message from the Salvation Army to the Government should be clear, said Mrs Stewart.

“The devolution of responsibility for services to the elderly from the Ministry of Health to the district health boards means that responsibility for yet another essential service has been dumped on the dhbs and the level of government accountability will drop accordingly.

“Rather than pouring money into health bureaucracies and treating the provision of health care as an industry, and not a service, the Minister should be looking at what she can do immediately to improve the health and well-being of the elderly,” said Mrs Stewart.


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