Our Vision: High quality, sustainable, home and community health services

Additional funding for support services welcomed

May 18, 2012

Media release, New Zealand Home Health Association
18 May 2012

The New Zealand Home Health Association welcomes the additional spending on home and community services announced by the Minister of Health this week.

Hon Tony Ryall has announced the Government will invest an additional $54.7 million over the next four years for more home and community support services, such as help with showering, getting dressed, preparing a meal, and house work. This will help people with disabilities to continue living in their community rather than having to enter residential care. Additional funding of $9.4 million will be made available to give more people greater choice and control of the services they receive. Another $57.6 million will be invested to support the increasing numbers of disabled people using residential support services.

CEO of the Home Health Association, Julie Haggie, says the spending reflects government’s efforts to meet its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, of which New Zealand is a signatory.

“The Convention requires signatories to ensure the full realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all disabled people, on an equal basis with others, and without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability.

“The Government’s new model for supporting disabled people is being developed in line with the Convention, that is, the involvement of disabled people and their families in the design of a model of care that will enhance their ability to live good lives and which allows them more control and choice.“

However, Mrs Haggie says there are still many people in inappropriate residential facilities because they have nowhere else to live.

“The Home Health Association welcomes any funding that allows people to have more choice about where they live and how they live.”

She says the funding increase for home and community services is overdue. 

“Over the last five years funding has not matched increases in the minimum wage and general price increases.  In addition, this year, the sector has a revised minimum Standard to work by, that will require many providers to give their staff more training and put in place greater quality assurance measures.

“The revised standard is a positive step, but it all costs money.”

She says there is still an ‘elephant in the room’ – how people over 65 who live with age-related disabilities at home are supported.

“Home support for these people is funded by District Health Boards, who all pay different rates and run different models. Most DHBs fail, though poor funding and poor service modelling, to measure or even identify the benefits of home health care in supporting people to stay well and out of hospital.

“This has resulted in a steady erosion of the service, to the point where in several regions the cost of providing the services is overtaking the hourly rate paid to staff.   There is a very real risk of the collapse of home support services in those areas.”

“The Home Health Association would like the Ministry of Health to undertake a robust costing of the provision of all home support services including those for aged care, so DHBs and providers can hold informed discussions about travel, training, models of care and supervision.”

For further information

Julie Haggie
04 472 3196, 0274 989 126

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