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AdvanceNZ on Health provision

On National Radio, Thursday 12 May, it was reported that yet another report has been issued regarding funding shortfalls in Rest Home and Hospital care for those over 65 who are properly assessed as needing long term care.

This is not something that has happened overnight, indeed there were reports commissioned in the late 1980s recognising a similar problem, which resulted in the aged care industry agreeing to a vastly improved contract with the then Social Welfare Department. The National Government of the 1990s chose to throw the oldies out with what little bathwater their carers had managed to gain and by imposing a reform regime around a greatly reduced fiscal envelope established the pathway directly to the current critical shortfall in funding.

In opposition the Labour Party paid considerable lip service to the concerns expressed by the care providers, but on becoming Government chose to adopt the policies of a succession of National Health Ministers and continue to underfund the sector. This has been in complete disregard of all the reports over the past 20 years that have concluded the sector is not being funded with regard to the important role it has in ensuring the wellbeing of a significant segment of the population.

"You don't need the brains of a dead rat to realise that underfunding the provision of care for our elderly will result in either or both of two outcomes. A lowering of the quality of care provision and /or a reduction in the quantity" A former Care Provider/member of the Rest Home Association Executive, Trevor Crosbie, said in Hamilton today. "The equation is simple, either fund the sector sufficiently or admit that our aged population will increasingly face the prospect of poor care delivery at the very time they most need and deserve it. Stop playing bloody politics with people lives!"

Public Good services such as Health should be made available as, where and when needed, by the use of non interest bearing capital provided through our NZ Reserve Bank in the form of an overdraft. That would result in all the DHBs being funded on a debt free basis, the elimination of the interest component from the funding equation and an end to the rationing of services.

"That there is an ever present and growing restriction on the ability of our public services to deliver adequate service provision to all those who are in need of them is an indictment of the economic fundamentals common to both National and Labour in Government and ample evidence that the present system has not been working in the best interest of all New Zealanders for some considerable time" concluded Mr. Crosbie.


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