SA State Budget 2015-2016 Dementia Services at Risk

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 10.20.51 amAs discussed in a recent article The ‘wisdom’ of governments dealing with dementia,  like Dr Faizel Ibrahim, a senior Consultant Geriatrician at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, I remain very concerned of the potential impact of the 2015-2016 STATE BUDGET PRIORITIES in South Australia.  Should funding of dementia programs not continued, this will have a devastating impact on the number of Alzheimer’s Australia SA dementia services supporting South Australians Funding of $1,485,000 is required to continue these services.

Alzheimer’s Australia South Australia released the attached paper earlier this week, which is an important reminder of what is at stake for people with dementia and their families.

State Budget 2015-2016 Dementia Services at Risk

Below is an open letter, sanctioned by Alzheimer’s Australia SA for me to publish here as well.

Dear Friends,

A number of Alzheimer’s Australia SA dementia services in South Australia are at risk unless urgent action is taken to continue funding some $1,485,000 of highly valued programs supporting people livening with dementia and their families.

There some 30,000 South Australians living with dementia. The cost of dementia is high, significantly impacting on people’s personal and financial lives.

People with dementia are often informally diagnosed with dementia and then left without an adequate understanding of the disease, the community supports or the skills to manage their care needs.

The valuable services at risk provide assistance to over 7,000 people per year and impact positively on thousands more family and community members.

The programs and services most notably at risk due to changes in the funding system across State and Federal programs. include:

  • Dementia Link Workers
  • Social and Cultural Diversity Liaison: Aboriginal and Multicultural Liaison Officers
  • Family Resource Support: community dementia education, dementia consumers support groups and workshops, resource library.

Just like Alzheimer’s Australia SA, myself and many consumers are particularly concerned:

  • That the changes will see dementia specific services absorbed into general mainstream services.
  • That mainstream services cannot and will not provide adequate services to meet the varied and very complex needs of people with dementia and their carers in South Australia.

South Australians supported by Commonwealth Home and Community Care (HACC) funded programs through both Commonwealth and state based services are at risk when they are most vulnerable by the current funding uncertainty.

State HACC funded services provide much needed supports to the person living with dementia and their family carers, for example the Connexus retreats for people livening with dementia also provide carers much needed respite and support from a network of people that understand dementia due to shared experiences.

The voice and support from the community is important if we are to ensure the ongoing provision of the necessary range of dementia programs provided by Alzheimer’s Australia SA.  Together we need the South Australian Government to complement the Commonwealth initiatives with its own substantial commitment to the programs at risk, either through new monies, or resources within existing budget lines.

Kate Swaffer.

11 thoughts on “SA State Budget 2015-2016 Dementia Services at Risk

  1. Hi again Kate – I thought I would let you know that I have had a response from my email to Jack Snelling. First of all it was addressed to “Dear Mr Dominique” which just proves that they didn’t bother to read my email, particularly as I referred to “my husband” and had my signature in PINK (somehow I don’t think a man would use pink for his signature?!). Secondly I was informed that the matter is the portfolio responsibility of the Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, the Hon. Zoe Bettison MP. My email has apparently been forwarded to her, so it will be interesting to see what kind of response I receive! Keep up the good work, and enjoy your trip you are currently on. xx

  2. Kate – well done for publishing this essential letter. I have also emailed the Minister for Health with the following. It will be very interesting to see if I receive any kind of response – I’m not holding my breath, but will let you know. I have been informed that at least two people I am aware of at Alzheimer’s SA have left because of changes in funding. I actually think he doesn’t realise the impact of this disease on society in general. Let’s hope all this “hounding” will change the Government’s mind. (I apologise for some of the language – please feel free to change it if you wish. 🙂 ) Take care xx

    “To the Honourable (ha!) Jack Snelling M.P. :
    How dare you! You are not Honourable – you are DIShonourable. Spending $2.4m on refurbishing and upgrading your office space using taxpayers (MY) money!! NOT FAIR!! I work for a SA government department and we are constantly being told to cut back, no you can’t have new desks or chairs or computers, or equipment critical to the services we provide. Staff are being cut left, right and centre, yet YOU can spend this much money? How come YOU can spend so much money and WE can’t??!! It’s despicable!! And worse, funding to a VITAL organisation, the Alzheimer’s Association of SA, will be cut – probably because you’ve dipped into the public purse and decided you need a new office. All they need is $1.485m – your office refurbishment money could have been used for this! You very obviously do not have anyone in your family or circle of friends who have this terrible, debilitating, cruel, heartbreaking disease. The Alzheimer’s Association will become an essential organisation as more and more cases of dementia are diagnosed. My husband has this horrible disease and to see him change EVERY SINGLE DAY is breaking me. If it wasn’t for the Alzheimer’s Association, I probably wouldn’t be here now. Why cut funding to this fundamentally crucial service – it needs MORE funding and MORE caring and supportive staff who totally understand what the person with dementia is going through, as well as what their carer is seeing and suffering. As Minister for Health, you should be increasing funding to all organisations who are going to have to somehow cope with our ageing population, not lining your own pockets by having a fancy, pretty office space!! I’m sure you’re not the first MP to do such a thing, and you won’t be the last. It’s shameful, disgraceful and contemptible!!
    Yes, I’m angry. It gives me the shits to see the SA Statement Government WASTE so much money on things that are not needed. The important things, like health, education, road safety, are what the government should be spending money on – – – “nah, they can wait, I need a new desk and chair in my office so I’m comfortable!” Get Real! You should see my work desk – it’s ancient, but I’m not allowed to go and spend taxpayers money on a new one, and you shouldn’t be allowed to either. IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY. It’s PUBLIC money.
    Maybe you should look at my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ForgetMeNot1966 or read my blog: http://domnsteve.wordpress.com and see what it’s REALLY like to care for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s not fun – I can assure you of that, which is why funding to the Alzheimer’s Association is so essential.
    Dementia will become the leading health problem within the next few years. It NEEDS support of governments so that they organisation can continue to support people like me and my family. I wouldn’t wish this horrible disease on anyone, but when it comes to things like this, I hope that one day you have to provide care to someone in your family who ends up with dementia.
    Come on, Jack Snelling – DO THE RIGHT THING. Support the wonderful work that the Alzheimer’s Association is doing but providing them with the funds to continue doing it.”

    • Good on you Dominique… we need to speak up in the thousands… so let’s rally for more voices to speak out against this injustice. Thanks for sharing your letter here, and remember, we are comrades together, all of us, family carers and people with dementia, together! We are one big family, who have been dumped with a CAPITAL D by the South Australian state government. I knew it was going to happen, when dementia did not even rate ONE mention at the Transforming Health day held earlier this year, the one where they paid a MC over $6000 for the day, who actually stuffed up the Traditional welcome!

      • Thanks Kate. I have had a number of positive comments on Facebook as well as I have put it on my personal page, my Forget Me Not page, the Alzheimer’s SA page; tried to put it onto Jack Snelling’s page but he doesn’t allow posts by anyone other than his office! My post has been shared a couple of times, so hopefully word is getting out there. We are one big family – and it looks like we will be left to do our own family things, without any assistance from our wretched selfish government. “Transforming Health” = making it worse, not better, for those who desperately need it. And one wonders why an MC has to be paid $6000 for a whole day’s work???? And who couldn’t even do that job properly! Ha! More wasteful funds which could be put to much better use! Oh it makes my blood boil ……..

  3. Reblogged this on Forget-Me-Not and commented:
    Well done Kate. I totally agree with what you have said. It’s a scarey road ahead for people with dementia and those caring for people with dementia, in South Australia. I have emailed Jack Snelling MP – it will be interesting if I receive any kind of response – I doubt I will.

  4. Hi Kate, I am also very concerned re the possible loss of so many important services at Alzheimer’s S.A. I think the writing was on the wall many years ago when the Give It a Go program was changed and we lost Memory Lane Cafe. Link workers seemed to be on the “missing” list too, especially in the western area. The monthly functions were such a huge loss then, which was “lack of funds”. Since then there has been massive changes to the building, offices everywhere and no longer any meeting spaces for groups on site. Has bricks and mortar become more important than clients? Now lots of offices and staff losing jobs. Some how this just doesn’t quite make sense to consumers!

  5. It seems like the only thing that is not at risk with this government is the politicians superannuation. They try to marginalise any group who raises a inconvenient truth, bullying and spin are their modus operandi.

    • Yep, agreed! The cost of things such as the new Adelaide Oval, the cost of updating the Oban for a 3 minute gain in times, and a number of other wasteful spending continues to be a cause of deep concern in this state!

The only thing missing in this global conversation is YOUR voice... Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s