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Home and community support services to be prioritised following Health Order

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Essential home and community support services that enable people to stay safely at home will be a priority, as services respond to lower staffing levels this week.

Southern DHB’s contracted home and community support providers will be communicating with clients whose support packages are needing to temporarily change, due to reduced staffing as the Health Order comes into effect.

It is not yet known how many home and community support staff have chosen not to be vaccinated, and the exact impact this will have on services.

Southern DHB Community Services General Manager Glenn Symon says that reduction of staff due to the Health Order compounds existing staff challenges in the sector.

“Due to the mandatory vaccination order, which has been legislated to keep our population safe and allow our health system to continue to function, a number of health and disability support workers have chosen not to be vaccinated and as a result will not continue their jobs. 

“We are also experiencing higher than historical sick leave, as staff are appropriately staying at home when they are unwell.  As replacement workforce is not readily available, providers may need to reduce services commensurate with our workforce. 

“Until our workforce is able to recover, which may take a number of months, we will need to prioritise those supports which are essential to keeping our population safe at home.  This may mean reducing or stopping household management services and reducing the number of visits to some clients.” 

Symon urges those receiving home-based supports to communicate with their care provider about their needs and their carer’s ability to meet those during this time.  

“We appreciate this is a disruption, and that providers are working hard to recruit to fill vacancies in their services. We look forward to returning to our usual service delivery as soon as possible, and thank everyone for their understanding at this time.”

Enquiries: communications@southerndhb.govt.nz