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Funding crisis in the disability sector in New Zealand is not surprise, says support network

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The comment follows the information that the Laura Fergusson rehabilitation will be closing all its rehab and residential services in Auckland, Waikato and Whanganui by August citing the Ministry of Health’s refusal to provide more funding as a core reason for the closure, RNZ reports.

But the Ministry of Health said it never received any requests for extra funding from Laura Fergusson Rehabilitation and was not aware of any other disability providers in financial difficulty.

New Zealand Disability Support Network chief executive Dr Garth Bennie said he was surprised by that statement and many service providers were in constant contact with the ministry over funding shortfalls.

“The reality is much different than that, the sector is in the midst of a financial crisis that has been brewing for many years and our organisation is in weekly contact with the ministry around a whole variety of funding issues that we have with government funding, both the Ministry of Health and with the Ministry of Social Development who also fund disability services,” he said.

Dr Bennie said providers were increasingly struggling with their own financial sustainability and to maintain the levels of quality and safety in their services that they were contracted to provide.

Dr Bennie said he knew of providers which were considering withdrawing from some contracts, while others were considering charging fees to recoup some of the costs – which he said was unacceptable, but they had very few options.

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