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Salvation Army Exits An Aged Care Sector In Crisis

29 November 2004

Salvation Army Exits An Aged Care Sector In Crisis

The Salvation Army gave notice today to its staff and residents and families in their twelve residential aged care facilities (583 beds), that it intends to sell up and leave the sector.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation spokesperson Shane Vugler said the Salvation Army had said that “ongoing financial viability” and “the imperative to find capital well in excess of $30 million to upgrade and expand facilities to meet current needs”, were significant factors in their decision to leave the sector.

“This confirms what NZNO and providers have been saying to Government for the last two years – that residential aged care is significantly under funded and that the sector is now in crisis,” said Shane Vugler.

Shane Vugler said the Salvation Army was the last country-wide not-for-profit provider and was a benchmark provider for the sector, with regard to standards of care and quality of service to our elderly.

Shane Vugler said the reality was that these facilities would now be bought by a for-profit provider.

“If even not-for-profit providers can’t keep their facilities open on the current level of funding, it can only get worse with providers who are finding money for wages and to maintain facilities as well as returns for their investors.”

Shane Vugler said many of our elderly in residential care were currently in environments where only the immediate physical needs of residents were met.

“The Salvation Army’s decision to exit the sector and abdicate their bench marking role, means significantly more of our elderly could be placed in such environments,” he said.

“This is clearly not an acceptable way for our society to treat our elderly and the Government must immediately address the funding issues the Salvation Army exit has highlighted.”

ENDS

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