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Largest-ever investment in health of older people

Largest-ever investment in health of older people

The largest-ever investment in care and support of the elderly will see $150 million over four years invested in residential care and another $81.2 million in helping them stay in their own homes if they wish, Health Minister Pete Hodgson says.

Budget 07 builds on last year's Budget which introduced a fair travel policy for home-based carers and this year's Budget is designed to continue efforts to raise pay levels in the aged care sector while providing quality care and positive choices for older people.

"The Government recognises the need to raise the level of pay for workers who provide valuable support to our senior citizens and we know that low pay and high staff turnover are a major workforce issue in aged care," Pete Hodgson says.

"Accordingly I expect district health boards to satisfy themselves that a sufficient proportion of the funding increase is reflected in improved wage rates. However a much more sustainable future is to be found by providers and collectivised workforces negotiating the development of this sector."

The $81.2 million allocated for home-based support will help lift workforce pay rates to reduce staff turnover and ensure valuable skills and training are not lost. The home-based carer workforce provides crucial day-to-day care so people aged 65 years or more are able to live as independently as possible.

Providing quality residential care is a key focus of this budget, the Minister said.

"I am pleased to announce this major investment to ensure our older citizens can access safe, quality residential care when they need it," Pete Hodgson says.

Another $46 million over four years is aimed at maintaining and improving quality services for older New Zealanders through district health boards which provide assessment treatment and rehabilitation services along with carer and community support. To provide for inflation and to fund volume increases into the future, the budget allocates another $128 million over four years. Funding (over four years): A $150 million investment for the aged residential care sector $81.2 million to bolster home-based support those aged 65 years or more $46 million for services provided by district health boards $128 million for inflation and to fund volume increases

New Zealand First warmly welcomes this additional funding on top of Budget increases in earlier yeas, and will retain a keen interest in ensuring the Labour-led Government gives the health of older people continuing priority.

ENDS


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