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160 new workers 'not enough' to meet aged care demand

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 6 November 2018, 7:19a.m.

The aged care sector is set to get 160 new workers to help fill gaps caused by the shortage but an industry expert says it's not enough.

The Ministry of Social Development is partnering with Medcall to train 160 beneficiaries for aged care jobs to be deployed in eight regions across the country.

Aged Care Association CEO Simon Wallace told Mike Hosking "it's just a drop in the bucket".

"It's a good start. It's recognition by the Government of the challenges the sector faces [and] it is being supported by our rest home members, but it's not enough to fill the gaping shortages we have with our caregivers." 

He said the partnership is a positive step but it won't come close to meeting demand.

"We are going from 85,000 people over 85 to 220,000 in 20 years time and we need 1000 caregivers each and every year."

The immigration laws are also causing issues for the sector, Wallace said.

"We have got this three-year standdown now where our migrant caregivers go home, irrespective of whether we can find a New Zealander to do that role."

"70 percent of our caregivers are New Zealanders but for the remainder, we rely on migrant workers to provide that quality service."

He said the Government is "bringing in 900 teachers to fill the teaching gap, yet we can't do the same with aged care".


ON AIR: The Devlin Radio Show

12p.m. - 3p.m.