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Government urged to fix disability sector funding crisis

Media release


Government urged to deliver solution to fix funding crisis facing disability sector  

·       Annual funding shortfall of $574 million revealed

·       An estimated 15,000 additional disabled people missing out on services

·       Services continuing to be rationed as funding crisis worsens

The disability sector is calling on the Government to deliver a much-needed boost in the 2020 Budget to stem a funding crisis that is resulting in many disabled people missing out on the services and supports they need. An estimated additional 15,000 disabled people are also unable to access services they are eligible for.

The 2020 Sector Briefing Report – Enabling Good Lives Sooner Rather Than Later – launched by the New Zealand Disability Support Network (NZDSN) today lays bare a funding crisis that is impacting every level of the sector.

“It’s high time the Government delivered on its promise to put wellbeing at the heart of all its decision-making when it comes to disabled people, their families and those organisations providing support services,” said NZDSN chief executive Dr Garth Bennie.

“The sector is in crisis at every point.  What we urgently need is a step change in the Government’s approach to correct a decade of neglect and underfunding and put the sector on a sustainable footing.

“Piecemeal changes such as in the 2019 Budget, while welcome, have not tackled the core funding problems we face. Providers are not funded sufficiently for the services they provide and that is continuing to have a serious impact on how disabled people are able to access and receive the support needed in their daily lives.

“We estimate that to properly fund the disability service system today, the Government needs to inject $574 million into the sector’s annual budget.

“With the Government running large surpluses and having met its debt targets, the time is right to invest in better lives for disabled New Zealanders.”

“The Enabling Good Lives  approach is a well-articulated set of principles intended to create change so that disabled people and families have more flexibility, choice and control over their support services. However, a funding crisis is slowing implementation, limiting options for people and holding up innovation.”

“We also know there is a vast unmet need in the community – our estimate based on the current System Transformation pilots which reflect the Enabling Good Lives approach are that there are a further 15,000 people, another 25 percent on top of those currently in the system, who are eligible to receive support. It is also very likely that this additional group are disproportionately Maori, Pacific Peoples, poor and rural.

“But the system is so complex and so focused on rationing demand to meet financial targets and keep costs down that people are missing out. This has got to stop. A Government truly focused on kindness should make fixing this a priority.

“The Minister of Health Dr David Clark, has himself acknowledged last month that we have a ‘health and disability system that has been woefully underfunded and neglected’. We want to work with the Government on solutions and the 2020 Sector Briefing Report provides a pathway forward.

“It is time for the Government to deliver so we can truly enable good lives for all disabled people and their families in our communities,” said Dr Bennie.


Attached:

Enabling good lives sooner rather than later: where to from here?
A Sector Briefing from NZDSN
NZDSN_Sector_Briefing__Final_14112019.pdf

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