The New Zealand Aged Care Association is trying to put sector
funding on the political agenda in its election campaign
The association is again highlighting caregivers' pay - which
averages $15.31 an hour in community-based providers - in a
$250,000 campaign funded by the lobby group's members.
However, a health board chief has appealed for an end to
''pointing fingers'' and more co-operation between the sector
and the Government.
Aged Care Association chief executive Martin Taylor said the
residential care sector could not afford to lift wages with
the present level of government funding.
''It's too tight and as the majority of operational costs in
care are wages, then it is caregivers who suffer.''
Caregivers gave older people respect, dignity and a sense of
''It makes it very difficult for caregivers to keep giving in
this way when they are paid at a level that challenges their
own dignity, and that's really the bottom line,'' he said.
The association had written to political parties asking what
each intended to do in aged care, and would publish the
The association also wants a review of palliative care
funding, extra funding for training for computer assessment
tool InterRai, and a promise new government initiatives or
requirements will be funded.
Last Monday, a group of Otago aged care providers published a
protest letter to the Government and Southern District Health
Board in the Otago Daily Times saying they had signed
the 2014-15 contract with a 1% funding rise ''under duress'',
while they faced a ''perfect storm'' of cost pressures.
Lead district heath board chief executive for health of older
people, Chris Fleming, of Nelson, told the Otago Daily
Times the parties must stop ''pointing fingers'' at each
other and find ways to reduce costs through tweaking the
Mr Fleming, who is also chief executive of Nelson Marlborough
DHB, said costs could be reduced through better links between
residential facilities and hospital/medical services.
''Aged residential care, I don't think it's well integrated
in terms of integration with primary care [and] secondary
care to reduce costs,'' he said.
Mr Fleming was ''sick of arguing''about the same things every
''What I want to try to do is stop all this pointing fingers
at each other and say: 'How do we get into a room to really
tackle some of these?' ''
The 1% increase for aged care this year was higher than the
annual funding increase received by district health boards,
''Is it enough? No, inevitably it's going to continue to put
the sector under challenge,'' Mr Fleming said.
Most people wanted to see caregivers' wages rise, but it was
a complex issue requiring a debate about what the work was
''Somehow, as a country, we have to figure out where our
priorities lie and how we fund it.''