Has he been advised of a reduction in funding for home-based health support services in the Wellington region?
How does he reconcile that answer with a reduction since 2010 of $4 million, or 30 percent of the budget for home-based services?
I was replying on behalf of the Minister of Health. The member will appreciate that as a Wellington member of Parliament I have also been briefed by Healthcare New Zealand and will be meeting shortly with the board. I am aware that there is some debate about the figures that have been applied, but I do note that funding to the district health board has increased significantly, some $86 million over the last 3 years, during the term of this Government.
Does he agree with Ken Douglas, the former deputy chair of Capital and Coast District Health Board, that, quite simply, the budget being proposed for this service and the expected service volumes do not match and that this will have the inevitable result of significantly reducing the quality and quantity of care available for elderly people or forcing the contracted organisation to subsidise the care itself; if not, what assurances can the Minister give to patients in the Capital and Coast District Health Board region that they will receive the same level of services based on a comprehensive health needs-assessment?
I note that Healthcare New Zealand, the unsuccessful tenderer, has just filed papers in the Wellington High Court seeking interim orders prohibiting the district health board from proceeding at this point. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to provide ministerial comment on the matters the member has raised. As I indicated in response to Mr Robertson, in a non-ministerial capacity I have met with Mr Douglas and I am very aware of his views.
Can the Minister confirm that as part of the retendering of home-based services, Capital and Coast District Health Board has reduced client volumes from 3,482 to 2,500, which is a reduction of almost 1,000 people receiving the services?
What message does the Minister have for Christine Miller, Shirley Stanway, and Barbara Bruce—[ Interruption]
The House will settle down. The member should just ask his question. I ask the members on the front bench to please cease the cross-interjection, because I could not hear the member at all.
What message does the Minister have for Christine Miller, Shirley Stanway, and Barbara Bruce, who all work as home support workers and who contacted my office worried about their jobs and the fact that there will now be no help for over 400 elderly people who are unable to shower or go to the toilet without assistance?
I have actually had the same contact as the local member of Parliament. I have met at least one of the people concerned, and I have discussed the situation with them. As I say, given that the matter is subject to court action at the present time, it is inappropriate for me to comment on a matter that might influence the court in its determination.