Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew says the Government will carefully consider the Human Rights Commission’s report on their inquiry into equal employment opportunities in aged care.
The report focuses on the terms and conditions of employment of the thousands of workers who provide care for older people in New Zealand, as well as the quality of aged care generally.
“The Government takes very seriously the work done by carers in the aged care sector. This year we will invest more than $1.4 billion in aged care and we have increased spending by an average of almost 4 per cent per year since 2008, despite difficult economic circumstances,” Mrs Goodhew says.
“The challenge for the Government is how best to balance the many competing demands for additional funding in the aged care sector as the population ages.
“Many of the recommendations in the report are consistent with the current initiatives and directions already set by the government. For example, care staff in government subsidised aged residential care facilities are already required to undergo foundation skills training in aged care within six months of their appointment. The same will apply to workers in home based support services when the new mandatory Home and Community Support Sector Standard is rolled out over the next two years.
“The new standard will also result in a more consistent application of safety standards for home and community based care, as well as more reliable, readily available consumer information on providers, similar to that which already exists for aged residential care facilities.
“The Government has also introduced spot audits of aged residential care facilities, third-party accreditation of aged residential care auditors and a new comprehensive clinical assessment tool which will provide robust information to help assess quality of care.
“I also acknowledge the importance of ensuring sustainable home-based support services in areas where significant travel is required to care for older New Zealanders. The Ministry of Health will be working with District Health Boards to ensure that arrangements are in place with providers to address this.”