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DHBs often fund NGO mental health and addiction services at a lower rate than their own services, while expecting NGOs to receive unrealistic service targets.
NGOs need to be funded fairly to pay staff fairly
The actions of DHBs put increasing financial strain on NGOs, and make it harder and harder for NGOs to meet the true costs of delivering services – including fairly remunerating staff.
For example the difference in pay between a nurse who works for a DHB and a nurse who works for an NGO can vary up to $10,000.
When NGOs are unable to pay market salary rates, qualified mental health staff leave to take up roles in DHBs – or leave the sector all together NGOs struggle to recruit quality staff in the same market as DHBs. We need skilled, experienced and suitably qualified staff to deliver effective NGO services.
Wildly variable prices for the same service
Across the country, DHBs pay NGOs wildly varying prices for the exact same services as displayed in the chart on this page.
In 2014 the DHB annual rate paid to an NGO – to cover all costs associated with delivering a community support service to people with complex mental health needs (which includes staff wages, employment conditions like sick and annual leave, car and travel costs, training, administration and overheads) – ranged from $86,000 per year at one DHB to a low of $66,000 at another.
NGOs are required to operate to the same National Services Framework (NSF) and National Health and Disability Services Standards (NHDS) as DHBs, so it’s only reasonable to also have a nationally agreed pricing structure in place.
What needs to happen?
- DHBs need to fund NGOs fairly so they can meet the true cost of delivering services - including fairly remunerating their staff.
- DHBs need to fund NGOs consistently for services across the country, so all New Zealanders who need them can access effective, creative and innovative services – no matter which community they belong to.
- Government needs to establish a working party to determine nationally consistent and agreed prices, as part of the National Services Framework.