Govt Slams National For Neglect Of Older People

Published: Thu 16 Nov 2000 04:06 PM
Government Slams National For Neglect Of Older People
Minister for Disability Issues Lianne Dalziel today criticised the National Party for a decade of neglect of older people.
Lianne Dalziel was responding to National associate health spokeswoman Lynda Scott's statement that inadequate funding was putting older people living in their homes at risk.
"It's a bit rich that Dr Scott challenges the Coalition Government's commitment to older people. Her government cut pensions, introduced asset testing for long stay hospital care, slashed home help provisions, and failed to increase the budget for senior citizens.
"In addition, a number of reports, including a National Health Committee report in May, show a complete policy vacuum under the previous government in the funding and delivery of services for older people."
Lianne Dalziel said the Labour-Alliance Coalition had done more for older people since the election than the National government in three terms of office.
"Contrary to Dr Scott's claims of a $10 million increase for disability support services, baseline funding has increased $57 million under this Government - a 3.3 per cent increase across the board.
"Dr Scott seems to be confused by the $10 million new funding in the Budget which was specifically for carer support and respite care – the first increase in funding for these important services in more than five years."
Lianne Dalziel said the Government was also taking other steps to look after older people's needs including setting up an older persons directorate inside the Ministry of Health, and developing strategies for ageing in place and disability issues.
"We are also looking at the recommendation of the National Health Committee to separate Older Persons Health funding from the Disability Support Services Budget. I remind Dr Scott that the decision to place a demand driven budget inside a ring fenced budget was her National Party's decision. Her comments are actually an indictment on her own Party, and she should do some research before she publicly embarrasses her Party."

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