Posted: Wednesday 19th July 2017
Cllr Teresa Heritage gave a speech at Full Council yesterday to families and councillors who were in attendance in the council chamber to listen to discussion around the funding of Nascot Lawn Respite Centre in Watford.
She said: “Nascot Lawn Respite Centre is an oasis of hope for 62 families in Hertfordshire who have children with complex and life limiting health needs.
We have heard how vital the services of Nascot Lawn are to these children, but as importantly they are vital to their parents, carers and siblings. We appreciate how devastated and surprised families felt in June when HVCCG unilaterally announced that it was withdrawing funding without any consultation with them.
Officers and I were equally disappointed that Herts Valleys CCG decided to cease their funding contribution to short breaks services which means we will not be able to move forward with an integrated health and social care provision we had been working together to achieve.
The background to the CCG decision and actions that have been taken by both CCG’s and this Council are set out in the background reports to this Full Council; were contained in separate briefings to members and are reiterated in the Agenda Papers for the Health Scrutiny Committee tomorrow – so I will not waste time on repeating this……but it is important that I highlight that proper consultation with families and this authority by HVCCG would have avoided the distress caused to this most vulnerable group of people in our County.
So families and the County Council are now having to pick up the pieces. I can assure all of the affected families that their welfare is of the utmost importance to this Council and we accept that it is this Council’s statutory duty to provide short break support, including Overnight social care breaks – we will not abrogate our responsibilities - but we believe that given the chronic and profound medical needs of the children, this duty should be a shared one with the HVCCG by providing proper joint care planning and sharing funding.
I can confirm that the County Council will continue to work transparently and inclusively with parents and carers to meet their families’ needs – this being most recently demonstrated by Senior County Officers forming a Focus Group (as requested by parents) where families, supported by Carers in Herts and Hertfordshire Parent Carer Involvement Group, could meet with the County and CCG’s to plan and understand future possibilities – this first meeting was last week and sadly neither CCG attended.
I can confirm that joint health and social care assessments, of all 62 children currently accessing NL with NHS funding, will take place in July and August, but the consequent discussions and decisions with families may take some time to finalise. Indeed, the mobilisation of County’s 3 respite care settings will take a few months too. I appreciate that I and officers initially told families that the assessments would be completed by the end of July – but we have been waiting for HVCCG to confirm how they would work with social services in this regard – confirmation only arrived on Thursday. Calls to make appointments with families commenced yesterday.
Like the HVCCG, the County Council has its own budgetary pressures. But this Council is committed to ensuring that all its residents have an opportunity to thrive and be healthy and safe – so in light of this commitment, our statutory duties and understanding the stress and worry that families are suffering at this time, the County will extend the commissioning of NL’s services, hopefully in partnership with the CCG’s, past 31 October, with fund taken from contingencies, until such time as all of the families have been provided with appropriate quality joint health and social care assessments to understand their short breaks needs and all families have been provided with appropriate short breaks.
I move the amended motion.”