Little wonder that Tony Ryall is regarded as such a safe pair of hands in the role of Minister of Health. He's made another sensible and pragmatic decision; the Beehive website reports:
Govt will not appeal family carers decisionThe 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, and 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.”
The Government could have further appealed Court of Appeal decision by taking it to the Supreme Court. However Mr Ryall said on the radio yesterday afternoon that it was considered likely that the Supreme Court would uphold the Court of Appeal's decision, and that the Government had decided not to spend any more money on a legal challenge.
The case against the Ministry of Health was brought by nine families of adults with disabilities. Whilst the Government on behalf of the MoH originally contested this case, Tony Ryall's decision today is a sensible back-down which should be applauded.