Today I’m excited to be launching Labour’s Aged Care policy. I started working on this policy the instant it was allocated to me a few months ago and it’s been full-steam ahead since then.
To get an idea of the issues, ideas and concerns surrounding Aged Care I’ve met with people from all across the sector, all across the country. It’s been fascinating. I’ve spoken at Grey Power branch meetings, with the Aged Care Association, the Retirement Villages Association, Age Concern, the Service and Food Workers Union, Career Force, Presbyterian Support, the Human Rights Commission, those in the health sector like Alzheimer’s New Zealand and Arthritis New Zealand plus many members of the public. With that much input you start to build a picture of the sector pretty quickly and the insight of everyone involved has been invaluable.
This insight plus ideas from within the Labour Party have all contributed to the policy I’m proud to be releasing today.
The funding and delivery of aged care in New Zealand faces significant strain as our population is ageing and costs are rising. This requires a comprehensive, well thought out and long-term government plan of action, which this government is showing no signs of creating.
Labour’s plan includes:
• Government-funded training for all aged care staff
• Minimum staffing levels for nurses and caregivers and
• When government finances allow, pay parity between aged carers and their equivalents in the public health system.
Additionally, a Technical Working Party to be set up by Labour will investigate all the recommendations in the ‘What the Future Holds for Older New Zealanders’ report which Labour produced last year with Grey Power and the Greens, and the Auditor General’s Home-based support services for older people report.
The working party will report back on the recommendations by May 2012. It will then be tasked to chart the way for a New Model of Service Delivery, which Labour believes is essential for New Zealand to meet the growing challenges in the aged care sector.
Labour has a strategic and long-term plan for the aged care sector and the values and drive to implement it. Aged care in the future needs to be built on the values of accessibility, dignity and respect for all older New Zealanders, underpinned by transparency and accountability in the way the services are provided.
Update: For the full press release on Labour’s Aged Care policy please use this link.