By Linda Hall
THE regional administration owes €35 million to centres which look after the intellectually impaired.
At the Mater et Magistra centre in Sevilla, 100 carers who look after 150 patients have not been paid since March and neither have suppliers. If the centre is surviving, said director Mercedes Antunez, it is entirely due to the goodwill of both staff and suppliers.
“The Junta might have cash-flow problems but so do I,” lamented Antunez, who is also concerned about employees’ own difficulties with the banks.
The problem is enormous but a common one for the 540 FEAPS centres for the mentally disabled , she said.
Mater et Magistra and other FEAPS centres held sit-ins last week to draw attention to their problems and force the Junta to act.
The centres attend to 20,000 people throughout the region and provide jobs for 8,500 employees.
The Junta retains 75 per cent of a patient’s disability allowance, leaving between €80 and €135 for personal expenses, the director explained. She could not understand why the Junta had stopped paying, as funding was agreed in the yearly budget.
“Where is the money? That there is nothing for building repairs I can understand. That there is nothing for outings I can understand. But upkeep can’t be touched!” Antunez exclaimed.
Asking parents to pay more to compensate for the crisis is no solution, Antunez claimed. Many are unemployed, she said, or are elderly with modest pensions.