MLA challenge over respite cuts

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East Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has challenged the Health Minister Edwin Poots about cutbacks to respite care.

He claimed that short-term cuts could endanger the health and well-being and even the stability of some families who are caring 24/7.

Minister Poots responded: “It is clearly the case that we are providing more domiciliary care and more support to people than before.”

Speaking later, Mr Beggs said: “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.

“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 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.”