Lib Dems table motion on Nascot Lawn closure

Mark Watkin as opposition spokesperson for Children’s Services has tabled the following motion about the proposed closure of Nascot Lawn Childrens Respite and Care Centre.

It will be debated at the next meeting of the County Council in support of the petition which will be presented by parents and families who are dependant on the services provided by Nascot Lawn which is now due to shut down at the end of October.

Mark comments “The Government is talking about easing austerity. This cannot happen soon enough. The closure of Nascot Lawn is entirely due to the Government’s insistence that the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group reduce their expenditure by £45m p.a. In these circumstances it always seem to be the most vulnerable that suffer first and worst. While we wait for the Government to change its tune, the County Council MUST dip into its £3m underspend from last year to keep Nascot Lawn going until it has had sufficient time to assess how best to serve the needs of this group.”

Council notes:

That on Friday 16th June, Herts Valleys CCG informed families across Hertfordshire that they would no longer be funding its contribution of £600k towards Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust run Nascot Lawn Children’s Respite Service.  Consequently Nascot Lawn will be forced to close on 31st October 2017.

Council further notes:

That Nascot Lawn Respite Centre provides regular overnight respite and care for a community of 60-80 children and young adults with severe learning and physical disabilities with additional complex medical needs. A day care service for children under 5 is also provided.

That Nascot Lawn is the only CCG funded respite centre in Hertfordshire, operated by Hertfordshire Community Trust. Patients referred to Nascot Lawn

That Nascot Lawn allows parent and carers to take a much needed break, confident in the knowledge that their child is receiving the highest standard of care by familiar staff.

That the CCG has been formally placed in ‘financial turnaround’ by NHS England and £45m savings must be made. Savings will be enforced centrally if the CCG are unable to carry out this level of spending reduction.

That since the General Election, ministers including the Chancellor have signalled that a relaxation of austerity measures could form part of the Government’s agenda for the forthcoming Parliament.

Council believes:

  • That removing services at Nascot Lawn will have a devastating effect on the families who are most in need of support, and that the CCG should reconsider their decision.
  • That providing support for the most vulnerable children in our society is a basic function of a health and care system, and that withdrawing this service will have a disproportionate, negative impact on those who need access to respite care the most.
  • That the £45m savings forced on the CCG by the Government are the reason for this decision, and the need for this level of spending reductions should be reassessed by ministers.
  • That the £600k saving that the Herts Valleys CCG will achieve will be dwarfed by the additional costs incurred by the County Council in providing replacement services for these families and young people.
  • That the 31st October 2017 deadline for closure is unrealistically too short to enable the County Council to establish alternative provision for these families and young people.
  • That as it has a legal responsibility to support these children that the County Council uses £600k of its recent £3m underspend of funds to ensure the continuing operation of Nascot Lawn for a further year to enable it to conduct a full review of all such services across the county.

Council therefore resolves:

That the Executive Member for Children’s Services as a matter of urgency writes to the Chief Executive of the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group to:

  • Inform them that this council strongly opposes the closure of the Nascot Lawn respite centre and ask them to reconsider their decision in the light of the harm it will do the some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our society.
  • If they are adamant about ceasing the funding, then to delay the cuts until at least April 2018 to give the County Council time to establish suitable alternative provision.

Council further resolves

That the leader of the council writes to the Secretary of State for Health and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to:

  • Inform them that the decision to enforce £45m of savings on HVCCG is impacting severely on vital frontline services which cater for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our county.  These enforced savings, combined with continuing reductions of £80m to Hertfordshire County Council’s budget have created a situation where it is simply not possible to provide the level of care required to meet the needs of Hertfordshire patients.
  • Seek Government support to ensure HVCCG and this council are able to adequately fund health and social care provision in accordance with patient need.
  • Ask that in the event of austerity measures being relaxed across the UK,  Health and Social Care services are prioritised as areas which require immediate additional funding.

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