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Saturday, January 21, 2006 

Ministry to implement policies
Saturday January 21 2006

by Patricia Campbell

Minister Hilston Baptiste has declared 2006 a year of action for the Ministry of Social Transformation. One of the first areas to be affected is the various homes for the elderly.
“The first year that I was here was a year of cleaning up .… now it is time for implementation,” Baptiste told the SUN in a recent interview.

Last year, technicians at the Ministry of Social Transforma-tion created a number of policy documents, including one regulating the homes. Efforts will be made to have these regulations implemented during this year and, as part of its earliest efforts, the ministry has given existing homes until the end of the first quarter to comply with their new regulations.

Minister Baptiste noted that in the past, homes were set up in a haphazard way, with little or no consideration for the provision of adequate space per client, proper bathroom facilities, safety and accessibility features like rails in bathtubs or ramps into the building, the number, training and quality of staff.

The new regulations address all of these issues and Baptiste said the document has already been communicated to all of the existing homes.

In addition, any individual or groups seeking to establish new homes for the elderly must get clearance from the ministry before their centres can be established. This measure will help the government to better regulate the facilities providing care to senior citizens.

These facilities are not the only social services which will come under the scrutiny of the Ministry of Social Transformation this year. Minister Baptiste compared some of the departments to “tops spinning in mud.”

In light of this, he said the policy documents designed to govern the operations of the Drug Reduction Unit, the Community Development Department and the Welfare Department would all be implemented as the ministry seeks to give these departments focus and direction.
“The new year is a year of getting the job done.” he concluded.

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