Families challenge decision to close respite centre

Families fighting to reverse the decision to close Nascot Lawn respite centre were in the High Court on 6 and 7 February to challenge the decision by Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group to stop funding. The centre provides vital short breaks for disabled children.

Three families were granted the right to a judicial review of the decision to close Nascot Lawn, following the announcement last year.

Members of the Disabled Children’s Partnership turned out to support families at the High Court. Amanda Batten, CEO of Contact and Chair of Disabled Children’s Partnership, said: “We are pleased that this decision is getting proper scrutiny and families who use the centre and describe it as a lifeline are able to have their concerns heard today in the High Court.

“Families have fought so hard to keep the centre open, and they have been left feeling devastated and fearful for their families’ future. It’s vital short breaks services like those offered by Nascot Lawn remain a priority for local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and we support the families challenging this decision.”

Irwin Mitchell, representing the families, argued that the decision by to remove funding was unlawful because the health body failed to legally consult with families who will be severely affected by the closure. They also argued the CCG breached its duty under the National Health Services Act and the Equality Act.

Satnam, from Bushey, whose daughter has a range of complex needs and has used Nascot Lawn since she was one, said: “Since last spring there has been anger, tears and frustration among all the families who rely on Nascot Lawn. Despite putting our argument forward time and time again we have not been listened to.

“It’s not just my family who would be devastated if Nascot Lawn closed; all the families who need the centre would be left in turmoil.”

Following the hearing, a decision is expected in the next few weeks.

Click here to sign our petition calling for the Government to review the funding and availability of short break services.