Nascot Lawn: Herts CCG is “out of control”, parents say

Nascot Lawn parents with Watford councillor Nigel Bell (far left).

Nascot Lawn parents with Watford councillor Nigel Bell (far left). - Credit: Archant

Nascot Lawn parents branded a Herts NHS body “out of control” at a press conference this week.

Nascot Lawn. Photo: Danny Loo.

Nascot Lawn. Photo: Danny Loo. - Credit: Archant

The Save Nascot Lawn group called the conference ahead of Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group’s (HVCCG) decision on the respite facility’s future next Thursday.

Nascot Lawn is based in Watford and provides short-term care for children with complex health needs and learning difficulties in Hertfordshire.

Earlier this year, HVCCG announced the centre would close as part of budget savings, which also included cuts to IVF treatments.

But Nascot Lawn families fought back, and forced HVCCG to keep it open under the threat of High Court action while children were assessed and the NHS engaged with campaigners.

Parent Angelina Murphy said: “They underestimated our ability to fight, because that is all we know, to fight, because they are our babies.”

The group have admitted the battle could end up in the High Court.

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Satnam Kaur, whose daughter uses Nascot Lawn, said: “The assessments have been rushed, so the decision will be rushed.

“We do not want to go to court, but if HVCCG does not carry out the engagement we will have to.”

Several parents at the conference said the assessment had been little more than a tick-box exercise.

Assessments by Herts Community Trust, who staff Nascot Lawn, detail what each child needs for each hour, but the HVCCG assessments did not, the parents claimed.

Satnam said: “If they had done a proper consultation about three to four months ago, and kept the respite centre running for that time, the amount they spent on the legal fees would have covered keeping Nascot Lawn open for those months.”

It was claimed at the meeting Watford MP Richard Harrington was passed over for a meeting by HVCCG, instead receiving only a phone call.

Angelina said: “This is a CCG which has no regard for the their patients, and no regard for the government.

“This is a CCG out of control when they do not have regard for the government.”

Mr Harrington’s office later clarified it was they who offered the phone call.

The parents say they are balancing the campaign with their other responsibilities, which include caring for their other children.

Satnam said: “I’m a single mum, I’m in family court at the same time as this campaign, and in the middle of it all I am running to Great Ormond Street Hospital.”

One parent began to cry after speaking about caring for her child.

Several options have been put forward for Nascot Lawn’s future, including a joint initiative between HVCCG and Herts County Council (HCC).

At the conference the parents presented a fifth option, which would involve HCC paying the bulk of Nascot Lawn’s costs.

There would also be a new disabled kids czar to adjudicate disputes and future-proof the service.

Parent David Josephs said: “The process has also made it obvious the relationship between the NHS and the local authority is under severe stress, and that is not good for the people who need the services they provide.

“The needs of children are in danger of being lost in this turf war, and the people who run these bodies need to get together and jointly fund an individual who represents the interests of children in Hertfordshire.”

This week, the group are running an action week in the run up to HVCCG’s decision on Thursday.

Over the weekend, parents will be keeping a diary of what they do with their child, and next week will be telephoning councillors.