In 1999, the then Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs introduced the respite care grant for recipients of carer's allowance. In 2000, the respite care grant was extended to beneficiaries of domiciliary care allowance. At the time it was decided that the then Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs would be responsible for paying the respite care grant to those providing care who are beneficiaries of the carer's allowance and benefit only, or the carer's allowance-benefit and domiciliary care allowance. It was also decided that the Department of Health and Children, via health boards, would be responsible for paying the respite care grant to those providing care who are beneficiaries of domiciliary care allowance but who are not in receipt of the carer's allowance and benefit.
The provision of health-related services for people with physical and-or-sensory disabilities is a matter for the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the health boards in the first instance. Accordingly, the Deputy's question has been referred to the chief executive officer of the South Eastern Health Board with a request that he examine the case and reply directly to the Deputy as a matter of urgency.