19 January, 2011
Govt acts on rest home report recommendations
Health Minister Tony Ryall reconfirmed today that the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards (DHBs) are addressing all of the recommendations from an auditor general's report into rest home performance.
The Government response to a Health Select Committee review of a damning Auditor General's report on rest home monitoring was tabled in Parliament today.
The 2009 report from the Controller and Auditor-General was scathing about the monitoring of aged residential care services in New Zealand and it criticised the previous Labour Government's handling of rest home monitoring.
"That report noted that the Ministry of Health struggled for years to ensure the quality and safety of rest home services and was particularly critical about a lack of action between 2002 and 2008," said Mr Ryall. "We have spent some time since the election dealing with this mess."
The Health Select Committee review of that report reinforced the OAG's recommendations for greater rigour and effectiveness in certifying and monitoring rest homes.
"The problems in the quality of monitoring rest homes were longstanding - and this Government shares the OAG's and the committee's concerns about the effectiveness of residential care auditing…that's why we're doing something about it" Mr Ryall says.
"The government has actively addressed the recommendations made by the Controller and Auditor-General. We have:
• tightened criteria for agencies that audit rest homes
• strengthened oversight of rest home auditors and required they have third party accreditation
• introduced spot audits
• made more information available to older New Zealanders and their families by publishing audit results online
• begun collecting and sharing more information from audit agencies and providers to identify "at risk" rest homes
• stopped duplication and streamlined functions between DHBs and the Ministry
• invested an extra $72 million over four years to improve and support rest home nursing supervision
• increased residential care subsidies by a further $64 million over four years in last year's budget
"This government took immediate action to make long overdue improvements in rest home monitoring and supervision, and we are keeping a close eye on them to ensure those improvements continue," Mr Ryall says.
A significant report on aged residential care last year commissioned by DHBs and the aged care sector is the basis now of further work to deal with the long term needs of aged residential care, looking at workforce, alternative models of care, future demand and supply and costs.
"We recognise our population is ageing and we are committed to ensuring older New Zealanders are provided with the choice of high quality care they need."
"The work is ongoing and we will also be making further announcements soon."
Link to Government Response to the Report of the Health Select Committee on the Report from the Controller and Auditor-General on Effectiveness of arrangements to check the standard of services provided by rest homes: