Aged Care Providers Campaign for More Funding for Elderly
30 June 2014
Aged Care Providers Campaign for Increased Funding for the Elderly
Aged care providers around the country are campaigning in the lead up to the September General Election in support of increased funding for the elderly so caregivers’ pay can increase.
The average hourly rate paid to caregivers working for aged care providers is $15.31 per hour. This is in contrast to care staff in District Health Board-owned hospitals and aged care facilities, who are receiving $17.50 per hour.
“This represents a significant difference and has been the situation for eight long years,” says Martin Taylor, chief executive of the New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA) which represents the providers.
“Every facility receives a subsidy for their care from the Government. All costs, including wages have to come out of that subsidy, and it is tightly controlled by Government. It’s too tight and as the majority of operational costs in care are wages then it is caregivers who suffer,” he says.
“Our members are not in a position to pay the difference in wages from their own resources. It requires the Government to come to the party.
“It’s for this reason we’re campaigning on behalf of the aged care sector which covers over 30,000 staff around the country,” he says.
Mr Taylor says that any family who has an elderly relative in care will know the difference caregivers make. After all, staff are looking after their every need, and often very personal needs.
“It’s these relationships that often give special meaning to people later in their life. Caregivers provide an elderly person with a sense of respect and dignity each and every day.
“It makes it very difficult for caregivers to keep giving in this way when they are paid at a level that challenges their own dignity, and that’s really the bottom line,” says Mr Taylor.
The NZACA has circulated a letter to all political parties, which is available on its website whocares.org.nz from 30 June 2014, asking what each of them intends to do about the situation. The Association will then publish their responses. It will make them available not only to the public but to all caregivers, residents and their families – more than 60,000 people.
“We feel strongly about this matter. The current unfairness has prevailed for far too long,” says Mr Taylor.