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News Worthy - 5 September 2008

News Worthy

5 September 2008 - No. 261

Choice, Not Chance for Older New Zealanders

The past 20 years have seen dramatic changes in caring for older people around the world. Older people are encouraged to remain in their homes for as long as possible and rest homes are no longer the inevitable destination for the very old. More and more residential care has shifted to non-government providers.

The care needs - or acuity - of older New Zealanders in aged-residential care is getting higher and higher. And this is putting considerable pressure on the services offered to older New Zealanders.

By 2026, almost a million New Zealanders will be over 65 years of age. That's more than double the current number of people.

Most importantly, the number of New Zealanders over the age of 85 will increase from nearly 50,000 to more than 125,000.

But the ageing population is not the only challenge facing the health sector.

One of the most significant demographic factors is the northward flow of population and the growth of greater Auckland. By 2026, it is projected Auckland will grow by 46% compared to a national population increase of just 22%.

The Ministry of Health estimates that a third of DHB populations will shrink, a third will stay the same, and a third will expand significantly.

People's expectations are also changing. People want greater choice and quality. They want a more personalised service that meets their individual needs.

Clearly these trends will have a huge impact on the demand for aged care services.

Our ability as a country to meet these demands will depend on two things: how prosperous we are as a country, and how well we use our resources.

A raft of initiatives are required including the need to:

* work with providers and consumer groups to develop long-term plans to meet the future demand for aged-care services and beds

* ensure that the subsidy paid to the elderly in aged residential care will be indexed to the health sector's inflation-adjustor the Forecast Funding Track (FFT)

* work towards multi-year contracts with aged-care providers

* review the auditing and monitoring of rest homes, introduce spot auditing and public disclosure of audit and compliance reports

* improve the co-ordination of care for older people through regional clinical networks across primary care and hospitals.

All of this is National Party policy.

"Cometh the hour, cometh the man"

We may not know the date of the election nor when Parliament will stop for the year but there is a raft of activities in the electorate of Epsom including:

* Monday 8 September 12.30 - 1.30
- Auckland Grammar School Political Debate at AGS Centennial Theatre

* Tuesday 16 September - 7.30 pm
Maxim Institute Political Debate at Greenlane Christian Centre 17 Marewa Rd Greenlane

* Sunday 28 September - 5.00pm
Parnell Cottage meeting at Parnell School Hall - Gladstone Road - Parnell

* Wednesday 1 October - 7.30 pm
Political Debate at Methodist Church Ngauruhoe Street - Mt Eden

"Ghoti and tchoghs"

A recent article in The Economist highlights the shortcomings of English orthography.

It is well illustrated by the above phonetic spelling of "fish and chips".

Due partly to its mixed Germanic and Latin origins English spelling is strikingly inconsistent. According to a recognised 2003 academic study it takes more than twice as long to learn to read English as it does to read most other western European languages.

How come fish and chips? Fish: gh as in tough, o as in women, ti as in nation (courtesy of GB Shaw). Chips: tch as in match, o as in women, gh as in hiccough.

Political Quote of the Week

"If we are going to be successful in life, then we must put all our dreams immediately into action" - Sri Chinmoy - Indian philosopher and guru (1931-2007)

Dr Richard Worth
National Party MP


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