‘Equal subi­si­dies’ drive for frail care

Martin ex­horts depart­ment to ap­peal court or­der halt­ing shut­ting down of fa­cil­i­ties in the prov­ince

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS - Estelle El­lis el­lise@ti­soblack­star.co.za

IN an ef­fort to es­tab­lish equal ser­vices for the el­derly and the frail, metro so­cial de­vel­op­ment port­fo­lio com­mit­tee chair­man Chris­tian Martin has asked the Depart­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment to ap­peal against a court or­der that stops the shut­down of cur­rent frail care ser­vices in the prov­ince.

“I be­lieve in fair­ness, rea­son­able­ness and pub­lic in­ter­est,” Martin said. He said the dis­par­ity be­tween the R18 000 sub­sidy re­ceived by the two Life Esidi­meni frail care cen­tres and the R1 750 sub­sidy for old age homes was un­fair, un­rea­son­able and not in the pub­lic in­ter­est.

The court or­der was ob­tained by fam­ily mem­bers of pa­tients cur­rently cared for at the two Life Esidi­meni cen­tres in the prov­ince, Lor­raine Frail Care and Al­goa Frail Care in December 2016.

Since then the ser­vice provider, Eastern Cape Frail Care, a sub­sidiary of the Life Health­care Group, kept the ser­vice go­ing and was paid by the depart­ment in terms of a court or­der is­sued in December 2016 and ex­tended ever since.

“We are con­stantly talk­ing about rec­ti­fy­ing the past. That is why I asked them to go on ap­peal. I am fight­ing for ev­ery­body – peo­ple in frail care and peo­ple in the old age homes,” Martin said.

He said he had asked the depart­ment to pro­pose an equal sub­sidy for both the old age homes and the frail care fa­cil­i­ties. “When I asked what the best prac­tice is else­where, they wanted to go to Amer­ica and Europe. I said ‘no’.

“Go to the other prov­inces. Come and tell us what they do in Gaut­eng and in the Western Cape. I want to know what is hap­pen­ing there.”

He said as he wanted to be fair he would sup­port the idea that all pa­tients should re­main in frail care un­til the court gave a ver­dict.

“One of the big­gest rea­sons why I de­cided to say some­thing is that I did not want any­body to die on my watch. No­body in the frail care cen- tres but also no­body in the old age homes,” he said. “This is what it is all about. I have to fight for ev­ery­body.”

“I want the Depart­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment to present me with a plan to pro­vide equal sub­si­dies to all these fa­cil­i­ties.”

Martin said the com­mit­tee was frus­trated with the lack of move­ment on the frail care is­sue in the prov­ince.

Depart­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment spokesman Mzuk­isi Solani said the depart­ment had ap­pointed a multi-dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee to plan for the mi­gra­tion of pa­tients to other cen­tres.

He said of­fi­cials from the provin­cial trea­sury and the de­part­ments of Health and So­cial De­vel­op­ment were serv­ing on this com­mit­tee.

He added that there had been no con­sul­ta­tion with fam­ily mem­bers of pa­tients at the cen­tres.

Solani said there were 211 pa­tients in the two frail care cen­tres and they would not ac­cept new pa­tients for the time be­ing.

I want the Depart­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment to present me with a plan to pro­vide equal sub­si­dies to all these fa­cil­i­ties.

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