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Government reforms aged care sector.

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

20th October 2008 Media Statement

Government reforms aged care sector.

The Minister of Health David Cunliffe today announced an immediate $13 million injection to jump start the reform of the Aged Care Sector.

The $13 million dollars will be spent in 2008-2009 as follows:
• $5 million will flow through District Health Boards to top up provider budgets to 3.3 per cent.
• Providers will be asked to pass this through to the workforce.
• A $4 million dollar investment by the DHBs in workforce development for the sector.
• A further $4 million dollar investment by the government to upskill carers in the sector to levels 2 and 3.

“I am confident that the District Health Boards will respond quickly to this initiative. I have made it clear to Health Board CEOs that I am looking for implementation without delay.

The first steps of a strategic change programme in aged care that includes:
Initiatives will include:
• Appropriate levels of qualifications for carers across the sector from registered nurses to gerontology nurse practitioners.
• A five year medium term programme to provide safe staffing levels encompassing these qualifications.
• The development of regulations to underpin these staffing requirements.
• Changes to improve the effectiveness and transparency of resthome audits including, spot checks, public audit report summaries and Ministry/DHB oversight of the appointment of auditors to ensure perceived independence.

“I favour a staircased approach to workforce development that will see a five year plan leading to safer staffing levels. We will establish a Ministerial Aged Residential Care Action group to oversee this.”

“The government will also be allocating $300,000 for the support and establishment of the Action Group. “

Mr Cunliffe said last year that government has committed to one of the largest investments in aged care funding with an additional $150 million over four years to residential care and another $81.2 million so elderly can stay in their own homes.


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