House: Wilson calls for action on granny dumping’
Shadow Health Minister Kim Wilson has called on Government to consider penalising families who abandon elderly relatives in hospital and providing incentives to those who look after them.
The call comes after Health Minister Jeanne Atherden revealed that King Edward VII Memorial Hospital was being used as a residence for seniors who did not need to be there.
She said that the refusal of some residents to take responsibility for family members had left a shortage of beds in the Acute Care Wing and had resulted in postponement of surgeries. Yesterday Ms Wilson urged Government to look at other options to tackle the problem, which is estimated to be costing taxpayers $27,200 a month.
“Granny dumping is not a new phenomenon. It has been happening for 30 years,” said Ms Wilson.
“We have a brand new Acute Care Wing and it is full.
“One would have thought that Government and the executive would have come across ways to address this issue.”
The PLP MP and former Attorney General then suggested a raft of ideas that she said could be considered to tackle the problem. “On admission to King Edward obtain signatures of the patient and or their guarantors responsible for the cost not covered by insurance or a credit card deposit. We have to look at other options.”
Her comments came during the budget debate in the House of Assembly yesterday after Health Minister Jeanne Atherden had outlined spending within the department.
Ms Wilson told the House that some US legislation allowed for civil action to be taken against individuals for failing to support a parent.
“In some states in the US there are criminal sanctions,” she said.
“The legislation has found much success in parts of the US making children responsible for impoverished parents and children refusing to take their parents home.
“Government could consider an incentive programme for families to receive payment for receiving home care services. That would be a marginal fraction of the $27,000 that is being paid out each month now, and additionally it would improve the person’s quality of life because they are staying at home.”
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