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Government has Institutionalised Unfairness

30 November 2004

Media Release on Behalf of the Coalition of Provider Representatives

District Health Boards Demonstrate Government has Institutionalised Unfairness.

The Coalition of Aged Care Providers is outraged by the District Health Board's response to their contract negotiations. The District Health Boards have written to aged care providers telling them that they don't have to negotiate with them and that they don't have to justify their decisions, Max Robins, President of NZ Private Hospitals Association said today.

The Coalition placed a claim before the DHB's in March of this year identifying substantial under-funding in the sector. The DHB's took six months to come back with a 1% price offer. Providers have rejected that offer and now the DHB's are saying they do not have to negotiate with us. It is blatant abuse of their monopsoly position, said Victoria Brown, Chairperson of ARCH.

Simon O'Dowd, Chairman of Residential Care New Zealand said, ' the Government did not devolve enough money to District Health Boards, so District Health Boards say it is the Governments fault, the Government says it is the responsibility of DHB's to negotiate with Aged Care Providers. It is a clear strategy to make sure that no-one is accountable and builds unfairness into every part of the system", he said.

"DHBNZ says that individual DHB's each came independently to the decision, and individual DHB's said that as it was a national process they couldn't comment. The Government is using an enormous bureaucracy to completely disempower aged care providers. The Government has successfully institutionalised unfairness", Mr Robins said.

Gillian Bremner, New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services said “the announcement by the Salvation Army that they will sell their 12 facilities is yet another example of the crisis facing the sector. We have been telling the Government repeatedly that not-for profit organisations are bailing out of residential care. This response from DHB's reflects a level of arrogance and disregard for the sector, that we could not have believed this Government would countenance", she said.

Martin Taylor, CEO of Residential Care New Zealand said "the Government had to act now. The Coalition for aged care warned that the growing crisis had to be addressed, he said. The DHB's have shown that they neither can nor want to address the problem. It is up to the Government to meet with us and develop a sustainable funding system and stop the crisis before it is too late", he said.

The Coalition of Provider Representatives for residential aged care collectively represents almost all private hospitals and resthomes in New Zealand. The Group comprises: The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS), New Zealand Private Hospitals Association (NZPHA), Residential Care New Zealand (RCNZ), Association Residential Care Homes (ARCH).

ENDS

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