Families who use Nascot Lawn respite care centre are celebrating today (21 February) as a High Court judge rules that plans to withdraw funding to the centre were unlawful.
Last November Herts Valleys Clinical Commission Group (CCG) announced that it would discontinue funding for the respite care centre which meant the centre was set to close this coming May. Families of children using the centre instructed lawyers to take up their fight and were granted permmission to challenge this decision in the High Court – which gave its judgement today.
In his judgement, Mr Justice Mostyn ruled that health bosses had acted unlawfully when they failed to consult with Hertfordshire County Council regarding their plans.
Amanda Batten, Chair of the Disabled Children’s Partnership and CEO of Contact said:
“We are delighted that the decison to cease funding for Nascot Lawn by the CCG has today been quashed by the High Court and that the CCGs decision has been found to be unlawful.
“Crucially this judgement has helped to clarify that short break services such as those offered at Nascot Lawn are indeed a health service and therefore the NHS has a role to play in funding this type of provision. As made clear in the judgement, the CCG and Local Authority must now work together to continue providing this type of service to disabled children and their families in the area.
“The families involved in this case are an inspiration. They have campaigned so hard to keep the centre open and we are delighted for them. We hope that it gives encouragement to other families with disabled children facing similar issues.
However, it should not take parents fighting in the courts to keep services such as this going. Moreover, the judgement does not guarantee the long term survival of Nascot Lawn or other services like it around the country. Short breaks are essential to help families with disabled children continue to care for them at home. It’s unforgiveable that there are short breaks services under threat across the country. That’s why the Disabled Children’s Partnership, a coalition of over 50 charities, is calling for a review of funding and legal duties around short breaks.”