Monday 20 October 2008
DSC calls for review of aged care provision
Democrats for Social Credit leader Stephnie de Ruyter is calling for a review of the uncoordinated manner in which aged care facilities are being provided in New Zealand. "There is already concern about the problem of rest homes finding and paying for enough qualified staff to cover their existing services, but as rest homes are pressured into taking more long-term hospital care residents when public hospitals withdraw this service, concerns about getting qualified staff - and paying for them - can only get worse" Ms de Ruyter said.
According to DSC Health Spokesman David Tranter, the privatisation by stealth of aged care is presently masked under the process whereby public hospitals withdraw from long-term hospital-level care of the elderly and DHBs contract out their care to the private sector.
"While concerns about privatisation are often dismissed with the statement that the public purse is still funding such care the stark fact is that private businesses have to return a profit to their shareholders. So what happens when the provision of such care is rendered unprofitable by rising costs or is simply not possible because private businesses cannot find enough sufficiently qualified staff to provide hospital level care?
"There is a chilling comparison here with the closure of all long-term residential care for mental health patients leading many informed sources to suggest an underlying agenda to ultimately privatise the entire health system" Mr. Tranter said.
"Since the corporatisation of health management there has been a cynical joke that the ideal hospital under the post-1993 public health system was one in which the buildings were occupied by management with no patients to get in the way. Yet health activists, myself included, have seen hospital wards which previously provided hospital care including elderly care but which have been withdrawn from that service and the space taken up with yet more management offices" Mr. Tranter said. "The joke is becoming a reality."
"The government and health authorities need to be called to account regarding their long-term plans for all elderly care including the provision of rest home and hospital-level care" Ms de Ruyter said.
"DSC policy is clear on this in our policy statement: 'Publicly owned aged care facilities will be established and appropriately resourced'. Fudging this issue between the public and private sectors is not good enough. There needs to be an absolute guarantee that our elderly are not going to be thrown on the mercies of the private sector" she concluded.