29 Aug 2015

Job losses as Westport resthome closes

6:39 am on 29 August 2015

The West Coast District Health Board has confirmed 16 people will lose their jobs with the closure of one of its aged care facilities in Westport.

The board will shut down the Kynnersley Rest Home in October because of a lack of demand for the 27 bed facility and no available Government funding for building repairs.

The board's Buller general manager, Kathleen Gavigan, said the announced job losses had left staff and management feeling distressed and sad.

She said of the 19 staff the rest home employs three will be reassigned while the others may be employed in new community health positions expected to be created in the wake of the home's closure.

Ms Gavigan said the community was disappointed with the decision but understood why it had been made.

She said the board would now work to address and improve after hour services, transport, social isolation issues, and housing for the elderly.

Age Concern said it would be watching the actions of the DHB.

Age Concern Canterbury chief executive Simon Templeton said the needed of the community need to be looked at both now and into the future.

Mr Templeton said provisions for services into the future for the elderly needed to be established and met.

He said he was aware of other rest home providers on the West Coast looking to increase their bed numbers specifically around the needs of dementia and hospital care.

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