Local Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs MLA has challenged the Minister for Health Edwin Poots about cutbacks to respite care in the health service.
During Question time at Stormont Mr Beggs asked the Minister:
“Does the Minister accept that, when health service staffs are advising vulnerable families that their respite care is being cut in half, cuts are clearly being made? They are short-term cuts that will endanger the health and well-being and even the stability of some families who are caring 24/7.”
Minister Poots in reply said “it is clearly the case that we are providing more domiciliary care and more support to people than before.”
Speaking later Roy Beggs commented:
“The Minister seems to be living in denial about the reality of cuts to frontline health services. I have contacted the Northern Health and Social Care Trust regarding a local family where respite support has been severely cut. Parents who care for their adult son who is profoundly disabled, have been recently told that the respite support is to be cut in half- to 11 days. When caring 24/7, respite support is vital to enable families to provide long term support”.
The East Antrim MLA concluded:
“Access to respite care must be a key and properly funded element in supporting families who provide constant care to their loved ones. I am very concerned that without adequate support for family members who are carers, their own health will be put at risk and the cost to the NHS will be much higher in the long term.”