This is an appeal to the Minister of Finance with respect to a forgotten group—the physically and mentally challenged persons, who were placed in homes under the Community Care Programme. The monies paid to the homes have not been increased in the last ten years.
Originally these persons were paid by the Ministry of Health, but with the restructuring of the ministry, payments are made by the Regional Health Authorities (RHA) from which the residents were placed.
Due to the generosity of the many organisations the homes were able to survive. With the downturn in the economy, donations are no longer forthcoming. The cost of living has skyrocketed. In addition, the homes have had to absorb two increases in salary in the last three years.
The fact that the residents are bedridden means special diets, purchase of medication when there is a shortage at the ministry, the use of sanitary underwear, creams to prevent bedsores and many other medications which are not required by the active child. The RHAs have not been meeting their monthly payments and in some cases were a year in arrears. At present some are nine months in arrears.
These people I consider the forgotten lot. They were not even considered when the Disability Grant was increased. I am appealing to the Ministry of Finance to remember them however small and to investigate why timely payments are not being made by the RHAs.