The decision announced on February 21st 2018, follows a judicial review earlier this month (February) into Herts Valleys CCG’s bid to stop the £650,000 it provides Nascot Lawn in Watford.
The lack of funding would result in the closure of the centre, which provides overnight care to children with complex medical needs and disabilities so that their families can have a much-needed break.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Motsyn ruled that health bosses at the CCG acted unlawfully when they failed to consult with Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) regarding their plans for the health service.
Lawyers from Irwin Mitchell, representing families who use Nascot Lawn, argued that withdrawing funding was unlawful.
Mr Justice Motsyn said if the correct legal process had been followed, the Council would have sought “an agreement which provided for the continuance of the funding of Nascot Lawn”. If an agreement was not reached the Council would have had the right to refer the decision to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt - whose remit has recently been expanded to include both health and social care - seeking a decision from him that the funding be continued.
As a result of the review Herts Valleys CCG is now required to consult with Hertfordshire County Council, in a particular and specified format, before making a new decision.
The CCG said it expects to start the formal consultation soon and the CCG will make a decision at its meeting in May.
Dr Nicolas Small, local GP and Chair of Herts Valleys CCG said: “The decision that we made back in November 2017, to stop funding services at Nascot Lawn, was one of the hardest we have had to make as a board. And we did this in the context of a very challenging financial environment, having to assess priorities in order to meet the financial requirements placed on us by law. That financial challenge continues.
“What we now need to do, in acknowledgment of the judge’s ruling, is to take time to formally consult with our colleagues at the Council in the format that the court has prescribed. We have started that process. Our consultation will remain thorough and genuine.”
The judge ruled in favour of the CCG on five other grounds the appeal was based on such as noting that there had been public involvement and comprehensive assessments of the needs of the children using the service.
Roma Mills, our Carers Involvement Manager, said: “We welcome the decision as it confirms the parents' view that Nascot Lawn was a health provision. It also reinforces the need for joint working between health and social care to ensure that children with complex medical needs and their families have access to appropriately resourced overnight respite care.
We will continue to offer support to these families and to press for access to overnight respite care services for all those who need them in Hertfordshire.”
Carers can get in touch with us by calling 01992 58 69 69 or emailing