C&CDHB ignores the real issue of service underfunding

Press Release – Healthcare of New Zealand

The short-sighted decision making that led to the Capital & Coast DHB having to make a u-turn on phone assessment is an example of its inability to make safe decisions about elderly people’s home support services, says Healthcare of New Zealand Chairman, …12 October 2011

C&CDHB’s focus on face-to-face assessments ignores the real issue of service underfunding

The short-sighted decision making that led to the Capital & Coast DHB having to make a u-turn on phone assessment is an example of its inability to make safe decisions about elderly people’s home support services, says Healthcare of New Zealand Chairman, and former Deputy Chair of the District Health Board, Ken Douglas.

“12 months ago the DHB was adamant that phone based assessments would not have a detrimental affect on the elderly. At the time we believed it was a cost-cutting measure that went against sector best practice.

“The DHB is now adamant that its $2million funding cut will not result in elderly people losing their support, but it is introducing a more expensive model of care and providers simply can’t do more for less.

“Something has to give – and we are concerned that it will be the quality and quantity of care provided to the elderly. To contest this reality is either naïve or deceptive.

“We have repeatedly asked the DHB for its financial modelling, to verify that elderly support services will not be affected by the funding cut, but the DHB has refused to provide it.

“The new service it is introducing is more comprehensive and will cost more money to deliver, not less. Even by reducing the number of providers from three to two, there is no feasible way that the DHB will be able to maintain the current service levels within the budget it has allocated.

“The C&CDHB is focusing the public’s attention on the features of its new service, while not being transparent about the real issue that it is underfunding an already stretched service.”

This is not the first time that the C&CDHB has cut home support services for the elderly. In November 2010, many elderly people lost the household support they relied on, when the C&CDHB changed its criteria so that only those with a Community Services Card were eligible.

“With household supports such as cleaning and washing (level 1) being completely cut under the new contract, we are concerned that the C&CDHB will have to reduce care to elderly who rely on help with their showering and toileting.(level 2 and 3). We ask them again to transparently prove that this will not be the case.”

ENDS

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