At our AGM on 25 November, Graeme Titcombe, CEO of Access Homehealth, had some concerning messages in his presentation on the crisis facing the homecare sector and the urgent need for action.
Here are 5 key messages to take away:
- There needs to be realistic funding from Government for the fair travel policy, which has not been increased since it was introduced as a partial reimbursement in 2005. At the moment, care workers – particularly in rural areas – are substantially subsidising the cost of travelling to their clients.
- There is currently no funding for travel time, which has a particular impact on rural caregivers.
- The Government needs to address the issues raised in the document Caring Counts around pay equity in a proactive way, rather than waiting for court cases on the issue. If the Government doesn’t take a proactive stance, homecare services are going to fail in 2014.
- A real threat will be the next minimum wage increase. No DHB has passed on an increase in the minimum wage to the homecare providers from the last three increases.
- While there has been more money put into the sector, this has only kept up with the increase in volume as the population ages.
Stay tuned for more information as it comes out early next year. If you’re looking for in depth information on the sector, visit NZ Home Health Association.
Look for the full story on this in our upcoming Express – hitting mailboxes mid-December.