Threats to home-based care for older persons highlighted in Human Rights Commission report
Rural Women New Zealand and the Council for Christian Social Services, in a joint statement, agree that the Report of the Inquiry into the Aged Care Workforce ‘Caring Counts’ by the Human Rights Commission clearly highlights the issues for both carers and the providers of the service.
The indicated lack of response by Government to this Report threatens the on-going ability of NGOs to continue to provide home based older persons’ services in New Zealand. It is not acceptable for Government to continually transfer the cost of providing vital older person services from District Health Boards to NGOs.
Rural Women New Zealand President, Liz Evans, said “Ministers cannot continue to claim that Government is providing an increasing quality of services and carer training when all they are simply doing is requiring NGOs to meet increasing quality standards and higher levels of carer training at the unfunded cost of the NGO.”
The Government legislates for increases to the minimum wage and yet provides no additional funding to NGOs to meet this new cost imposition; similarly it increases the employer contribution for Kiwisaver without a cost contribution.
At the same time, DHBs divert older persons’ funding into their delivery of secondary services and fail to pass on inflation increases; some DHBs have not passed on an inflation increase for three years. The Government cannot claim that they are increasing funding for older persons services when they have no mechanism for ensuring that DHBs are utilising existing funding for such services.
While NGOs have struggled to maintain services under these circumstances they have no ability to meet the valid concerns in regard to carers’ wages and travel reimbursements. The NGO sector has strived for many years to gain meaningful dialogue with Government in an attempt to address these injustices.
“We do not believe that Government appreciates the degree of the crisis now facing NGOs in the home based older persons sector; it has been ten years in the making and the continual failure of Government to address it illustrates the low level of priority given to older persons’ services.
“It is not acceptable for Ministers to say, once again, that the issues will be addressed when the country’s accounts are in a stronger financial position, while in the meantime some DHBs continue to exploit the NGO sector and its workforce. NGOs will simply not be able to sustain the current level of services.” said Mrs Evans.
31 May 2012