The Government has decided not to appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the Ministry of Health v Atkinson & Others Family Carers case.
Health Minister Tony Ryall says the Government accepts the current Health Ministry policy of not paying the close family carers of adults with disabilities needs to change.
“We will not be seeking leave to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.
“We have begun the process of reviewing the MOH policy with respect to family caregivers. We expect a new policy addressing the issues raised in this case to be substantially developed this year.
“The future policy needs to balance the interests of those who are being cared for, the families and the taxpayers. It will address the discrimination. But it must be affordable.”
The families’ claim was that the Ministry of Health paid people to come into their home to care for their adult disabled family member, but would not pay them to provide the care themselves.
“The next step in the legal process is for the Human Rights Review Tribunal to consider and determine what remedies the families who made a claim to the Human Rights Tribunal will receive.
“The remedies hearing is expected to take place within the next six months.”
Around 10,000 people aged 18 and over receive services in their homes from care givers paid for by the Ministry of Health.
“We have put in place a number of initiatives to improve community and home support services, support independent living, provide more respite care and meet rising costs of equipment and modification services.
“As announced in Budget 2012 we are making available $143.7 million over the next four years to improve the lives of people with disabilities – the largest share of new health funding in the Budget other than DHBs.
“This adds to the $1 billion the Government already spends every year in supporting disabled people, including $9.4 million for a newer more individualised approach to disability funding where disabled people can chose how, what and who supports them.”
Source: Office of Tony Ryall.