Nascot Lawn respite centre wins High Court reprieve

Nascot Lawn, the only respite centre in Hertfordshire for children with complex needs, was due to close in May. Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group announced in November that it was withdrawing funding for this vital service.

Several parents got together to fight this ruling. And yesterday, the High Court found that Herts Valley CCG needs to work with Hertfordshire County Council on the future plan for Nascot Lawn. Funding is now guaranteed until August. If they cannot reach an agreement on keeping Nascot Lawn open, Hertfordshire County Council can refer the matter to the Secretary of State for Health.

The Disabled Children’s Partnership has been supporting families in their fight to keep Nasccot Lawn open. They write that

The ruling has important implications across the country, and underlines the need for the Government to review the funding and availability of short break services.

Parents of disabled children already have highly stressful lives. I can only imagine the increased pressure these families have been experiencing during this legal battle. Liberal Democrat President Baroness Sal Brinton has been supporting local Watford families in this appeal. She is pictured above celebrating the High Court judgement with families.

Last month, Hampshire County Council announced the closure of two respite centres, in Aldershot and Kingsworthy, for children with complex needs.

Austerity cuts have gone much too far. Cutting vital services for the most vulnerable among us is deplorable. The fact that this uncertainty will continue to hang over these children and their families until a long-term solution is found calls into question the entire way we approach care.

A child with a complex disability has no control over their life. Their parents are saints, already giving more than they probably ever thought they had to give. Respite care enables these children to stay in the family home. Without respite, many parents could not continue to cope. Many more children would enter the care system. The damage would be manifold. Broken families. Greatly increased care costs.

We need a joined-up approach to disability provision – health and social care need complete integration so that children can be looked after by their families but with respite for their carers.

Please consider signing the Disabled Children’s Partnership’s petition, calling on the Government to review the funding and availability of short breaks services.

* Kirsten Johnson is an Oxfordshire County Councillor and Day Editor for Lib Dem Voice. She stood as the Parliamentary Candidate for Oxford East in the 2017 General Election.

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  • A harrowing tale of real distress for these parents, Kirsten.

    I echo your conclusion that ” We need a joined-up approach to disability provision – health and social care need complete integration so that children can be looked after by their families but with respite for their carers.”

    I do think, however, that these vital services need to be under the full control of local authorities though and safeguarded from centralised budget cuts. This would mean much greater devolution of tax raising powers to local authorities to avoid the axe falling from Whitehall.

  • Helen Dudden 26th Feb '18 - 8:47am

    I know there are many problems resulting from these cuts. I have just been making comments on the lack of hydrotherapy provision. Why is it so difficult to understand the benefits? I find it soothes my discomfort, another person I know, says you leave behind in the very warm water.
    Parents and carers do need support, and again, it’s difficult to get some understanding.

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