Mayor urges DHB to urgently review home help & rest home assessments - 11/12/2007Mayor Michael Laws today urged the Whanganui District Health Board to review the level of assistance and assessment for elderly persons seeking home help and rest home care.
"There is considerable and understandable anguish in the community, that our elderly folk are not receiving the level of care or funding that we might expect. The DHB's decision to chop the extent of home help funding and services was wrong, and may have exacerbated the situation."
Mayor Laws said that, as a newly elected DHB member, he would be placing the issue "on the first agenda for the incoming board's attention. The level of public reassurance from DHB chief executive Memo Musa and AccessAbility chief executive Judy Bilderbeck is insufficient for our community. The truth is that previous services have been restricted and that has added to the pressure".
"Most elderly folk want to stay in their own homes. With the proper assistance, they will. For others it is not an option. Each case is slightly different – the human dimension needs to be built into assessment decisions."
Mayor Laws said that it was "incredibly frustrating that the DHB board will not meet as a board until February next year, despite being elected in mid-October. It is not an ideal situation. But an independent review of existing policies – and a peer comparison with other DHBs – could be started right now. I will be suggesting so at the Orientation Day for new board members this coming Friday".
Mayor Laws complimented Whanganui MP Chester Borrows "for co-ordinating concern on this matter. It is a central government responsibility but the policy is enacted locally. Let's get cracking now on devising the right, local solution".