Govt 'committed' to aged care

SIMON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 23/05/2012
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SIMON SMITH
OPENING OFFICIAL: Associate minister of health Jo Goodhew told the opening of the new Howick Baptist Healthcare hospital the Government is quality-focused.

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The Government is committed to the high-quality care of older-people, Associate Minister of Health Jo Goodhew says.

The minister was speaking to about 100 people who turned up to mark the official opening of Howick Baptist Healthcare's new $17 million hospital last Wednesday.

Mrs Goodhew said it was a pleasure to attend and she has felt strongly about aged care for a long time.

"We as a government are committed to ensuring older New Zealanders are provided with the choice of high-quality care they need," she said.

She listed what the Government has done and is doing for older people, including an additional $520m over the past four years in aged residential care and another $40m budgeted for residential dementia care over the next four years.

"We really are true to our word. We do want it to be quality care and we want to do our bit as a government to help work out just where that quality is and help you, the public, to see that."

She said the aim is to care for people in the community to keep them out of hospital but the demand for hospital-level care will grow in the coming years.

There is also a pressing need for more dementia beds and services.

Mrs Goodhew said the Government wants to strengthen the aged-care workforce.

"The future will require people to work differently. Just how this looks is being worked on by Health Workforce New Zealand," she said.

"A small number of highly-trained professionals in aged care can positively impact on the health and well-being of older people and we do need to make the most of their skills."

Hospital chief executive Bonnie Robinson said the government must work with the aged-care sector to find solutions to best help the growing population.

"I think one of the things I have learnt in shifting from working for government to working in the community sector is that, actually it only works when we work together."

A handful of dignitaries were in attendance, including Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross and Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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