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Home-Based Care Services Petition

Home-Based Care Services Petition

Rural Women New Zealand is to present a petition to Parliament calling on it to urgently address problems relating to equity of access to home-based care services in rural communities, caused by the lack of reimbursement of travel costs for home-care workers.

We urge you to support this petition.

Why is RWNZ petitioning Parliament?

The home-based care industry is in crisis, due to the problems of recruitment and retention of workers.

Travel Costs: A major factor in the recruitment and retention problem is the continuing failure of Government to meet the travel costs of workers when delivering services to rural clients. This has been exacerbated by rising fuel prices.

While there has been a recent Budget funding increase for homecare services, this will have a minimal impact on the retention and recruitment crisis unless travel costs are met.

Home based care is of vital interest to Rural Women New Zealand. Our organisation has always had a strong focus on rural health issues and supporting rural communities.

We are speaking out for those who are often least able to speak out for themselves, but who are suffering as a result of the lack of homecare services.

Home-based care is primarily used by elderly people who require support in order to remain in their own homes, rather than moving to residential care in larger centres. It is also used by the disabled and early discharge from hospital patients.

Here is an example of the income / costs of a homecare worker:

If a home-care worker travels 15 kilometres return to see a client, their travel costs are $9.30 (based on the IRD’s rate of .62 cents per km), and approximately $3 for their time, based on their hourly rate of pay. i.e. Their costs to reach the client are $12.30.

An average visit to a client is 1.5 hours, at an hourly rate of pay of $10.50, i.e. $15.75 gross.

After paying income tax, and deducting travel time and travel costs, the net take home pay for the visit is just $1.31.

No wonder there is a retention and recruitment problem!

What does this mean for rural homecare clients?

A large turnover in caregivers who provide the most personal services, often to elderly people A Ministry of Health study in 2004 showed the average staff turnover for home-based care companies was 39% per annum.

A lack of home-based care services in areas where it is not possible to recruit or retain staff.
This is particularly prevalent in areas where there are other unskilled jobs available with higher rates of pay and no travel costs e.g. tourist areas.
Clients who are eligible for services don’t receive them.
These people struggle unsupported in their own homes or must go in to rest homes.
Thousands of referrals a year are turned down by home-based care companies due to lack of staff to provide the services due.

The Government is not meeting its undertakings

Under the Health of Older People Strategy (Action 3.6) the Ministry of Health undertakes that:

“The Ministry will develop a co-ordinated approach to facilitate access by rural people, including older people to appropriate and sustainable services.”

Despite this undertaking, the Government has taken no action to arrest the steady erosion of home-based services to rural people, when the cause of that erosion is both known and capable of being immediately addressed.

We urge you to support this petition by collecting signatures and returning the forms to Rural Women New Zealand, PO Box 12-021, Wellington by 30 September 2005.
The petition will be presented to the Government after the election, in October.

The petition of Rural Women New Zealand and others, respectfully requests:

“That Parliament takes urgent action to guarantee the provision of home-based care services for rural communities, by paying travel costs and travel time for homecare workers who are required to travel more than 15 kilometres return to care for their clients.”


Signing this petition:

Please support this petition by collecting signatures from members of the public and returning the petition to Rural Women New Zealand, PO Box 12-021, Wellington by Friday 30 September 2005.

Who Can Sign? The petition can be signed by any New Zealand citizen. There is no age restriction. Signatories do not have to include addresses.

Unless incapacitated, a person must sign a petition personally, (a person signing on behalf of a person incapacitated must state this fact beside the signature).

Distribution and Returns The petition may be left in local shops, at Doctors’ surgeries etc. Note: You should contact your local council in advance to notify them if you will be collecting signatures in the street. It is also a courtesy to ask permission from shop owners to petition members of the public outside their business.

You can forward the petition by email to any contacts you have who would be willing to sign or collect signatures on our behalf. However, signatures must be original - not photocopied, faxed, scanned, pasted or otherwise transferred on to the petition sheets.

Further Information This petition is supported by Rural Women New Zealand’s National Council. If you require any further information, please contact Maggie Bayfield, Executive Officer, RWNZ national office. Tel: (04) 473 5524. Email Maggie.Bayfield@ruralwomen.org.nz, or the national councillors listed above.

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