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Grey Power Seeks Urgent DHB Funding Injection

Greypower joins growing campaign seeking urgent DHB funding injection for elderly facilities

Greypower today joined the growing campaign seeking urgent funding support for elderly care facilities from district health boards.

Residential Care New Zealand and the New Zealand Private Hospital Association have been worried that the DHBs’ under funding of residential care facilities is forcing charities to quit caring for the elderly.

Most district health boards (DHBs) have recommended a 1 percent increase to the nations’ struggling private care givers.

Greypower chairman Graham Stairmand said the offer was not fair or equitable and it demonstrated the government did not value elderly people.

``It shows a lack of understanding by the government about providing care for the elderly, and disregard for the caregivers and nurses who work within the sector.

Inflation is running about three percent and this offer is unlikely to cover the increase most rest homes and hospitals have had in power, food and transport.

``This lack of funding is consistent with the last five years where the government has never compensated fully for inflation. We can not keep going on like this,’’ he said.

South Island staff of the Mary Potter Hospital were shocked last week to learn their 90-year-old hospital for the elderly in Christchurch was closing.

Managers at the 68-bed hospital, set up by a Catholic order of nuns in 1913, stunned staff and patients' families last week by announcing it was closing. News of the closure follows long-standing warnings from the Residential Care NZ and the Private Hospitals' Association (PHA) that many providers were considering closing. Residential Care New Zealand chief executive Martin Taylor said in real terms an offer of one percent meant an increase of about 88 cents each day to look after elderly in residential care. ``Taking into account inflation over the last year, it cost about $2.50 more person to provide the same level of care in 2004, despite this the government only offered 88cents per person. This is unsustainable.’’ Many religious and welfare groups have exited or plan to exit from residential care. Presbyterian Support have sold their facilities in Nelson / Marlborough, Canterbury, Hamilton, Tauranga, Thames, Whakatane, Kerikeri and Auckland.

The Salvation Army have signalled the enormous difficulty they have in surviving.

``The whole sector is in a state of shock at the offer and we are urgently considering our options,’’ Mr Taylor said.

The district health boards’ offer affected over 800 aged care providers who employ more than 25,000 staff in resthomes and hospitals.

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