Nascot Lawn respite centre to close

Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) has announced it will stop funding Nascot Lawn, the Watford respite centre that had been the focus of a campaign to keep it open from local families who rely on the short breaks it provided for disabled children.

The centre will close on 17 May 2018.

Parents have been campaigning since June to stop HVCCG from closing the centre.

David Josephs, campaigner and parent to Dominic who uses the facility, told the Hertfordshire Advertiser: “What I have felt for the last seven months is immense frustration.

“The two biggest powers in the county, the CCG and Herts County Council (HCC), could have averted this from happening.

“And even if Nascot Lawn was to close in the future, more could have been done to, if not eliminate, reduce the unnecessary stress parents are under.

“While our immediate frustration has been with the NHS, I think most of us feel HCC should be joint-funding this service, and I think HCC have hid behind the NHS’ woes, saying ‘we cannot commission a health service’, and we have examples of where it has in the county.

“They have refused to joint-fund the service which would have kept a medically-led respite service available to parents.”

Amanda Batten, Chair of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, said:

“We are bitterly disappointed by the CCG’s decision to cease funding for Nascot Lawn. Families who have fought so hard to keep the centre open will be left feeling devastated and fearful for their families’ future.

“They have been left hanging by a thread while the CCG and council have squabbled for months over who should fund the vital services Nascot Lawn provides for some of the most sick and disabled children and their families in the area.Sadly, this isn’t an isolated case and across the country families are facing similar battles and endless stress and worry.

“It’s vital short breaks services like those offered by Nascot Lawn remain a priority for local authorities and CCGs. Their value is clear – as well as being nothing short of a lifeline for many families, they also save the state tens of millions of pounds by supporting parents to look after their disabled children, and they give disabled children opportunities that their peers take for granted.

“That’s why we in the Disabled Children’s Partnership are calling on the government to take action to stop disputes like this arising in the first place by reviewing how short breaks services are funded.”