East Antrim MLA Oliver Mc-Mullan has called for carers to have access to free public transport when accompanying patients.
The Sinn Fein representative said his party had written to Regional Devel-opment Minister Danny Kennedy over the issue.
Mr McMullan said: “Carers save the Government millions each year by provid-ing a service that is invaluable to the person they care for yet they are paid very little in return.
“Most full-time carers get a small top up on their benefits and this is far below an average working wage. Yet many, who are family members, are constantly caring for their patients 24/7.
“However if the person being cared for has to use public transport to travel to hospital, go shopping or visit friends then the carer is expected to pay the full amount.
“This can become uneco-nomically viable and there-fore a reason to restrict the mobility of a carer and those in need of one, especially
those in rural areas who de-pend more on public transport.
“Sinn Féin will be raising the issue at committee and I will also be writing to the Health Minister Simon Ham-ilton in order to allow free transport for carers when accompanying the person they care for.
“Carers need to be given full support in providing the service that they do and allowing them free public transport is one the issues we could address as soon as possible,” Mr McMullan concluded.