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GSD questions dementia delay

The GSD has expressed concern that a firm date has not been committed to by the Minister for Health, Dr John Cortes, for the opening of the Dementia Day Care Centre and Residential Unit.

Roy Clinton, with shadow responsibility for Public Finance, said in a statement yesterday that if Dr Cortes had attended the AGM of the Gibraltar Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society, “he would have felt the frustration of members vented at his broken promises and those of politicians in general. An opening date of September has now become Autumn 2016.”

The statement points out that the Government’s own National Dementia Vision and Strategy Document issued in 2015 had stated that “Dementia is a Public Health and Social Priority”.

Mr Clinton says this same document had indicated the 54 bed Dementia Residence would be completed in late 2015 and the Day Care Centre would open in early 2016.

“Both targets,” he added had been missed.

Mr Clinton says “that clearly something has failed” as the construction phase and the fit out and manning would normally be expected to be planned together so as to meet key milestones and thus not delay the opening.

He questions if, “given that the 2015/16 budget estimates already made provision for £400,000 for the Day Care Facility and a further £ 400,000 for the contracting out of the Dementia Residential Facilities service why the slippage in what was already known to be a complex project?”

Mr Clinton also asks if qualified staff been interviewed and recruited by the GHA and trained for the Dementia Day Care Facility and if a contract has been awarded for the Dementia Residential Facility if so to whom and for how much?

He further questions if the money earmarked has been spent or not and if the project is within budget?

“My interest is in how public money is spent and ensuring those spending it are accountable to Parliament and the people, but Dr Cortes can rest assured I will be amongst the first to admire the opening of these long overdue facilities,” he says.

And further adds, “in the meantime, out of respect and common decency, some answers to my questions, announcement of a firm opening date and the actual reasons for the delay is the very least Dr Cortes owes GADS, dementia patients and their carers.”