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Immediate Strategy Needed For Aged Care

22 November 2005

Immediate Strategy Needed For Aged Care

It is to be hoped that the new Minister of Health and the Government are working on a realistic, affordable strategy to pay for the escalating costs of aged care says New Zealand First’s Health spokesperson, Barbara Stewart MP.

“Aged care is already in crisis because of years of under funding and this is a problem which will not go away.

“The number of rest home beds available is static - and will not increase while returns for providers are poor - but the number of beds required is growing every year. From 2006 to 2016 it is estimated that there will be 179,000 more seniors over 65 years of age – an increase of 35%,” said Mrs Stewart.

“This in turn will lead to an increase in the number of those needing care in rest homes, dementia units and continuing care hospitals – one estimate is that up to 16,000 more residential care beds will be needed by 2016, a 44% increase on present numbers.

“Briefing papers from the Health Ministry to the new Minister warn that there is an urgent need to overhaul the pay and employment conditions of support workers in both residential and home-care sectors.

“Action on this front is long overdue. Fortunately the Government has agreed to address the issue of elder care as a matter of priority in the 2006 Budget and details of how they propose to do this will be eagerly awaited,” said Mrs Stewart.

ENDS


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