19 September, 2012
Public submissions sought on new Family Carers Policy
People can now make submissions on how the Ministry of Health funds home and community support to disabled adults in the future.
The consultation follows the Government’s decision not to appeal the Court of Appeal ruling in the family carers’ case (Ministry of Health v Atkinson) in June 2012.
This means that the current policy of not paying certain family members for providing home and community support to disabled adults needs to change.
“Getting it right is going to be challenging, as we need to balance the interests of those who are being cared for, those doing the caring, and taxpayers,” Mr Ryall says.
A series of consultation meetings is planned and a discussion document is being released today.
”The Ministry is aware that individuals in the disability and carers communities have different views about whether family members should be paid for providing support and what form any payment should take,” Mr Ryall says.
“Some people say any approach that involves paying family caregivers – where they may become financially dependent on their adult children - will undermine family relationships and a disabled person’s ability to live an everyday life.
“Others say the family carers know the needs of family best.
“The Government is keenly interested in hearing the views of people in the disability and carer communities, as well as in society more broadly. Changing the policy is a complex task and this input is vital.
“Whatever the final policy, it has to be affordable. There is increasing pressure on health and disability expenditure in a tight financial environment. Increased costs associated with paying family carers might result in a need to reprioritise other government expenditure. Trade-offs will need to be made,” Mr Ryall says.
The new policy is expected to be announced next year.
Submissions can be made online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/familycarersconsult
by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or in writing to Family Carers Consultation, Ministry of Health, PO Box 5013, Wellington 6145
Submissions close at 5pm on Tuesday November 6, 2012.
A series of public workshops are being held in centres around the country. Details of these meetings, the consultation document: Consultation on Paying Family Carers to Provide Disability Support 2012, and questions and answers are available at www.health.govt.nz/familycarersconsult.