Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Kerre Woodham: Right now there seems to be more votes in potholes than pensioners

What I did want to talk to you about this morning was prompted by a piece written by Rob Campbell in Newsroom, talking about the dire state of aged care in this country.

Aged care providers have warned the shortage of rest homes is leading to longer wait times for elective surgery, overcrowded emergency departments and other pressures on the health system.

The Aged Care Deputy Chair Warrick Dunn said the rest home sector was currently short about 1000 to 1200 nurses, from a total work force of over 5000, so they need a fifth more than what they have.

As a consequence, there are 1200 beds across the sector that have had to be closed, either total closures or partial and providers have had to do that to keep staff and residents safe.

Put another way, last year we saw about 20 rest homes close because of a nursing shortage. So that means that these elderly, vulnerable people have to basically pick up their beds and move to a completely different environment. That's if they can find one.

The inability to provide for our elderly affects us all. Older people in the right environment can live rich and full lives right up to the bitter end.

I remember emceeing an aged care conference some years ago - and the incredible initiatives being undertaken by so many providers, not-for-profit providers as well as the for profit, to give their people the best possible life right around the country, was staggering and inspirational.

Done right you can live a great life. But right now there seems to be more votes in potholes than pensioners.

Kerre McIvor, is a journalist, radio presenter, author and columnist. Currently hosts the Kerre Woodham mornings show on Newstalk ZB where this article was sourced

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