Hertfordshire County Council wants to hear from people about updated proposals to change how short breaks (respite) care services in the county are provided for adults with disabilities.
The service involves the person being cared for staying at one of the Council’s short breaks facilities to give their relative or whoever normally cares for them some respite.
The Council currently offers short respite breaks at eight places around Hertfordshire with up to 48 beds available. The service is accessed by around 330 people with physical and learning disabilities each year.
Following feedback from initial consultations the Council is seeking views on closing the short breaks unit at Apton Road, Bishop’s Stortford, instead of Isabel Court in Hoddesdon. The new proposal is a result of concerns expressed about the limitations of the Apton Road building and facilities, such as inaccessibility for wheelchair users.
The Council is still also proposing to close two other units – Hixberry Lane in St Albans and Tewin Road in Hemel Hempstead. The three units provide 14 beds and the closure would save the Council around £900,000 a year, but people would still be able to access a facility within 15 miles of where they live.
Some of the money saved would be spent improving the facility at Tanners Wood, Abbots Langley.
The Council is also:
• Reviewing the way people can book a short break – making it simpler, faster and as flexible as possible;
• Addressing comments about waiting lists and communication, such as what the alternative options are to a stay in one of the respite facilities;
• Going to consider the impact of transport and travel for those who would have to access a different facility if the one they use closes; and
• Looking at access and availability of suitable short break support for emergency situations. People who responded to the consultation expressed concerns that the occupancy rate increased as the Council intends then that would leave a shortage of emergency provision.
The changes are being suggested following a Council review that found that the respite services are under-used but are being paid for. The Council said people are using Direct Payments to source alternative care arrangements instead.
The Council has stated that any decision made will not affect the amount of respite you, or the person you care for are eligible for and we are not proposing to reduce the types of short break support available – but people may have to travel somewhere different to access their break.
The extra consultation runs until Sunday 19th January 2020 and Hertfordshire County Councillors plan to meet in February 2020 to make a decision. The Council would like new comments only and you can take part at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/consultations or direct via https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/consultations/adult-social-services/additional-short-breaks-respite-consultation.aspx#
There has been a consultation event in Bishop’s Stortford and another is taking place at St Cuthbert’s Church, Whitley Road, Hoddesdon, on Wednesday 11th December 2019, 7pm – 8.30pm.
If you need help completing the questionnaire or would like the consultation documents in other formats you can email or call your local adult disability social care team. The numbers are as follows:
Dacorum: 01442 454444
East Herts and Broxbourne: 01438 843111
Hertsmere: 01442 454242
North Herts and Stevenage: 0143 843222
St Albans: 01442 454300
Watford and Three Rivers: 01442 454343
Welwyn and Hatfield: 01438 843600.