30 Apr 2013

Funding boost for aged care and dementia

10:19 pm on 30 April 2013

The Government is to increase funding for aged care and dementia by $70 million over the next four years in a pre-Budget announcement on Tuesday.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said dementia is increasing by 4% a year and is a government priority.

Mr Ryall said $20 million would go to home support services to help people stay in their own homes for longer.

Another $12 million, also over four years, would boost subsidies for dementia beds, while $2 million over three years would support dementia awareness programmes and early detection.

Some $1.2 million has been earmarked to improve dementia-related training.

District health boards would also be funded to provide an extra $33.2 million in aged residential care subsidies.

Access, the second largest provider of home care for older people in New Zealand, welcomed the funding announcement.

Chief executive Graeme Titcombe told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme it is good news and may boost pay for some in the sector.

"It's not going to make a significant difference to base pay, given the number of workers in the industry - we're talking somewhere in the realms of 20,000 workers - so it's not going to make a major difference to an hourly rate.

"But it may well make a difference to a group of support workers with higher qualifications."

The Budget will be delivered on 16 May.