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Aged care health workers ignored by National

19 February 2013

Aged care health workers ignored by National

The National Government has blocked an attempt to fix serious problems in aged care by refusing to intervene, Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said today.

“The National Government’s arrogant dismissal of a serious attempt by health care workers to get adequate funding to fix problems in the aged care sector is extremely disappointing,” Mr Hague said.

The National Government majority in Parliament’s health select committee has rejected a New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota (SFWU) petition calling for more resources in the aged care sector.

“Aged care workers are paid less for the same work than carers in other sectors and that is unfair and needs to change,” Mr Hague said.

“The evidence is clear that nurses and carers working for a District Health Board are paid significantly more than those working in aged care, entirely without any significant difference in nature of work or workload, yet Government is simply washing its hands of this problem.

“The shabby treatment of aged care workers mean fewer people want to do the work which obviously poses a serious risk to the future provision of aged care services.

“During consideration of the petition, National MPs refused to allow evidence from Human Rights Commissioner Judy Macgregor who has done an intensive investigation into aged care and has valuable insight that would assist policy development.

“This is the second time since National came to office that it has blocked a deeper look at care for older New Zealanders, suggesting it fears what the outcomes would be. Perhaps that's why this entire sector is now operating without any kind of national plan, except for the flimsy platform of the national Party's 2008 election manifesto.

“Aged care workers need good training, pay parity, and targeted government funding. Ignoring problems in the sector means it will be harder to fix them later.”

ENDS

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