Funding injection welcomed by Home Support Sector

Press Release – Home Health Association

The New Zealand Home Health Association is heartened by the Governments pre budget announcement that it will invest an additional $20 million over four years for home support services to help more elderly New Zealanders stay in their homes longer.Funding injection welcomed by Home Support Sector

New Zealand Home Health Association, media release, 30 April 2013

The New Zealand Home Health Association is heartened by the Government’s pre budget announcement that it will invest an additional $20 million over four years for home support services to help more elderly New Zealanders stay in their homes longer.

“The Government has gone some way towards recognising the strain that home support services have been under, particularly in response to the increased acuity of our clients and increased expectations around this.” says Julie Haggie, CEO of the NZ Home Health Association.

“The sort of support we need to provide in the community cannot happen without reasonable levels of supervision and training and a stable workforce.

“In 2011 the Auditor General recognised the transient nature of the home support workforce and of their terms and conditions. This was echoed by the EEO Commissioner in the Caring Counts Report last year. Both recommended that providers should have to meet a minimum quality standard. We have been advocating that for years, and the Government accepted this late in 2011, for full implementation by September this year.”

The Home Health Association and major providers also put the case to Government that the service could not meet the expectations of the new standard and increasing acuity on the current funding levels.

“Many are struggling to cope as is, and there are unjustifiable variations in pricing across New Zealand,” Ms Haggie said.

“To its credit the Government has recognised this problem. The funding increase may only go part of the way, but at a time when everyone is facing budget restraints this glass of cool water will take some of the heat off our service delivery.

“Our main concern is that the funding will have to pass through the drafting gate of DHBs.

“The experience of many of our members has been that increases in funding, even to meet general cost of living increases, is held back by some DHBs to service their debt or to meet increased service demand. In some areas older citizens have faced cuts in home support hours. These responses are, of course, short-sighted. It is critical that this funding injection goes where it is most needed, to support and train this valuable workforce.”
ENDS

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