13 Jan 2020

Hawke's Bay DHB to resume suspended household support service to hundreds

5:48 pm on 13 January 2020

Hawke's Bay District Health Board is reinstating household support services to more than 600 people, who were sent letters last week notifying them the service would be suspended for them.

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Photo: Supplied

Last week, hundreds of elderly and disabled people were told they would lose access to Household Management Services. Hawke's Bay DHB apologised for sending the letters and said the notification was sent out after a reassessment of the service.

One of those people, an 88-year-old woman with a bad arthritic knee, was told in the letter that "housework is a great way to maintain a good level of health".

However, acting executive director planning and funding Emma Foster said the team acknowledged the new eligibility criteria was not robust enough, having learned the letter was received by many who still needed the service.

"DHB management unreservedly apologise for the hurt and upset this has caused so many people - not just those who receive the service, but organisations such as Age Concern who advocate for our elderly and do a fantastic job, as well as extended family members and of course our care support workers in the home," she said in a statement.

The reinstatement of the service could take up to two weeks, Foster said.

"We are working as efficiently as possible to reinstate services in the home, but ask for some understanding as our providers work hard to get their staff and rosters for these clients back on stream," she said.

The team will also revisit the eligibility criteria and go through consumer council review before seeking board approval.

"This process may mean the status quo is retained or a new criteria that better meets the needs of consumers is introduced," Foster said.

An apology letter, along with notification of the reinstatement, is being drafted and will be sent all impacted clients, the DHB said.

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