Ahead of the General Election, Alzheimers NZ has written to each political party seeking information regarding their policies and plans to respond to the healthcare challenge that dementia presents.
RESPONSE TO ALZHEIMERS NEW ZEALAND
What will you do to promote and support a New Zealand Dementia Strategy?
Labour believes dementia level care services in New Zealand need to be overhauled and significant resource given to developing a higher quality service. As part of the Report into Aged Care we worked on, we identified a number of changes we believe should be made. A number of these are Labour policies and there is more about them in our answers to your other questions.
What will you do to encourage and promote a dementia-friendly NZ?
Labour will make mental health one of our top 8 priorities in health. This will be an important step both in terms of importance and understanding of issues around mental health and dementia, but also for funding. Labour will, in our first 100 days of Government, establish an Aged Care Working Group to develop reforms to the aged care sector (more below). We’ll make GP visits and prescriptions free for those over 65, and we’re going to extend the Care Plus programme.
What will you do to strengthen community and home-based support for people affected by dementia?
The Aged Care working group will be tasked with advising on an agreed timeframe and funding the transition to a number of measures such as agreed safe staffing levels for safe residential aged care, dementia care and home and community care.
Helping those who work in this area is an important part of strengthening support available. Labour will work collaboratively with providers, unions, and representatives of older people to improve wages for caregivers, to set agreed standards for care and to make home based care work more effectively for the people receiving care. There will be an agreed plan with agreed timelines for reaching our targets.
What will you do to lift the quality of care and support for people affected by dementia?
Mental health will be one of Labour’s top eight health priorities when in Government. Some of our commitments in mental health include reinstating the ring fence for mental health funding, work to ensure equity of access to health care for those experiencing mental illness, and to review the contracting arrangements for mental health providers with a view to creating a more consistent and efficient approach to contracting.
Labour will also extend the Care Plus programme so that 250,000 more New Zealanders with serious long-term health needs can get the extra support they need. Labour believes that many more New Zealanders with serious long-term health conditions would benefit from the extra care and cost savings offered by Care Plus.
We will work with Primary Health Organisations and primary healthcare professionals to set new, more flexible criteria for Care Plus with a target of giving 250,000 more New Zealanders with serious long-term health need access to its benefits. This will help people with serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and mental illness. We are not setting the new criteria within this policy- that would be inappropriate; they will be determined by experts who best understand the needs of people with long-term illnesses.
How will you increase the investment in research into dementia?
New Zealand’s research and development spend is too low. Labour recognises that funding for science needs to grow and particularly within the private sector. R&D in the business sector is particularly low – just 0.51% of GDP or one-third of the OECD average. Although Kiwis are an inventive people, our low level of business expenditure is a drag on New Zealand’s ability to innovate and grow.
Labour will introduce a Research & Development (R&D) tax credit at the rate of 12.5 % from April 2016, to lift New Zealand’s lagging R&D expenditure by encouraging businesses to research and innovate.
In addition, if we are to develop a vibrant science sector to power our productive, innovative industries we need them to attract our best minds. Unfortunately, there is limited public awareness of the value of science and the opportunities it offers.
Science will be repositioned as an excellent career choice. Supporting our world beating scientists and providing them with the resources to blossom in their field will attract other top talent to New Zealand, building areas of research excellence for which New Zealand will become world renowned. Labour will put an end to the rounds of continuous restructuring in government science, which is driving students away from choosing science as a career and remaining scientistsaway from New Zealand. We will support the career pathways of graduates, to encourage our researchers to develop their careers and contribute to New Zealand.
The years immediately following graduation are critical to consolidate the careers of scientists. With the removal of post-doctoral scholarships in 2010, New Zealand has lost hundreds of our best scientific minds overseas.
Labour will reinstate post-doctoral fellowships for recent PhD graduates, scaling up to a cost of $6 million a year, so they are supported into research careers in New Zealand instead of overseas.
How will you establish New Zealand’s leadership role in respect of dementia?
Labour has committed to bringing the Minister for Senior Citizens back into cabinet as part of our push to ensure that the issues and needs of older New Zealanders have a dedicated voice within government.
We have listened to those in the sector and have committed to establishing an Aged Care Commissioner tasked as a watchdog for the rights of older New Zealanders. As New Zealand’s population ages we need to ensure that there is a strong voice able to draw attention to problems and provide recommendations for solutions. And this is what Labour will deliver through the establishment of an Aged Care Commissioner.
For the full briefing paper and other party responses, click here.
Site by Kudos Web
Ctrl + 1 Home
Ctrl + 2 About Dementia
Ctrl + 3 Get Support
Ctrl + 4 Get Involved
Ctrl + 5 News & Info
Ctrl + 6 Who we are
Ctrl + 7 Contact us
Ctrl + 8 Donate
Ctrl + 9 Search