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DHBS Must Not Cheat Elderly

25 May 2006

DHBS Must Not Cheat Elderly

"The Minister of Health must honour his commitment to ensuring that the money in this year’s budget for the eldercare sector is passed on promptly and in full and the key to this is to ensure that the district health boards deal fairly with providers in this sector, says New Zealand First Health Spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

"It seems that the DHBs are trying to blackmail eldercare providers by making the passing on of the new money in this budget - which is currently being negotiated as part of the A21 review - conditional on providers dropping their A23 claim related to the NZNO MECA agreement.

"What makes it worse is that the DHBs have refused to meet with Aged Residential Care Providers over the A23 claim for more than a year, and are now trying to avoid their responsibilities in this regard by manipulating the bargaining process for this new money,” says Mrs Stewart.

"It is quite clear that unless the Minister ensures that the DHBs deal fairly with providers in this sector, and negotiates separately on the A23 claim when settling nurses’ wages through their MECA agreement, there is likely to be a stalemate and our senior citizens will be punished again.

"Allocating funds in this budget will be pointless unless they get to their intended destination. With the DHBs seemingly prepared to play a dangerous game of "stand off", while older New Zealanders suffer, the Minister must now act on his word and sort this mess out," said Mrs Stewart.

ENDS

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