The Home Care sector is facing a financial crisis with many providers saying they are now critically challenged to keep up with minimum wage increases, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.
“A report (attached) presented to the Minister just before the Budget shows that current funding for caring for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable in their homes is now unsustainable.
“Many organisations that look after our elderly in their own homes say they are operating at, or very close to, loss.
“District Health Boards are struggling to fund home care with an elderly growing population and are looking at ways to reduce hours and cut services as the health system faces a cut of $1.7 billion.
“Home Support Services are not a luxury as over half of home care clients have at least two chronic diseases and are at risk of needing hospital care or residential care services in 90 days.
“The Associate Minister today refused to rule out that the Government was working on asset testing older New Zealanders receiving home care. He confirmed that the Government is working on a new strategy for older New Zealanders.
“This is a terrible indictment of an increasingly arrogant government that is ignoring the real economic benefits of having some of our most vulnerable Kiwis stay in their homes.
“The cost of supporting our elderly at home is estimated at just $4,000 every year while the cost of supporting a person in an aged care facility is more than $36,000 annually.
“We should be doing everything to fund these services and keep people in their homes,” says Annette King.