Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Opposition question Government carer facility

GSLP/Liberal Opposition said yesterday it had received representations from the family of a person with disability who has been living in the Dr Giraldi Home for four years and claims to have been badly treated by the authorities.

At the person’s request the Opposition said it was bringing to the notice of the public the totally unsatisfactory manner in which this person has been treated by the Government Agency.

“The person in question has required hospital treatment on a number of occasions.

Recently he required surgical intervention in Cadiz and the family was informed by both the Gibraltar Health Authority and Dr. Giraldi Home that a carer would accompany him and stay overnight given the person’s disability and his need to be made to feel at ease by having the company of his carer, with whom he is familiar.

Arrangements were made for the carer to share sleeping accommodation with the patient. The official GHA sponsored escort was to be a member of the family,” said the Opposition.

The carer accompanied the patient, stayed in Cadiz the first night. However, the Opposition says she was ordered to come back to Gibraltar the next day and told she could not stay overnight.

“She returned the next day with a second carer who brought a suitcase of clothes as permission to stay three days had been given. However, one hour after being told this, the relative was informed that both carers had the permission to stay revoked and again been ordered back to Gibraltar.

All these conflicting orders had a very negative impact on the disabled person, who was very distressed, had a panic attack and was crying inconsolably.”

The patient’s relative is said to have insisted on speaking to someone in authority and was told on the phone by the Government Agency that the carers were surplus to requirements as the patient already had him as his escort and that in any case there were no funds in the budget to meet this type of expenditure.

“The relative offered to return to Gibraltar and for his allowance to be used for the Carer since the patient was highly dependent on his Carers and would be more at ease with them. He was promised a reply to his offer but no reply ever came back,” said the Opposition spokesman Charles Bruzon.

“It is shocking that this kind of thing can happen, which shows an incomprehensible degree of insensitivity to the special need of a person with disabilities. The dedication of the carers is evident from the fact that the patient felt more secure in their company than even with a member of his own family and whilst they did their best to meet the needs of the person in their care they were clearly overruled,” he said adding:

“The Government keeps on saying that it is not short of money and we keep on getting complaints from dissatisfied customers.”

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