Nascot Lawn: Herts Valleys CCG decides to close centre

The outside of Nascot Lawn respite centre in Watford. Photo: Danny Loo.

The outside of Nascot Lawn respite centre in Watford. Photo: Danny Loo. - Credit: Archant

Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group has again decided to close Nascot Lawn respite centre and instead co-fund short breaks with the county council.

Nascot Lawn provides short breaks to children with learning difficulties and disabilities so the youngsters and their parents can have a break - it has been the focus of a near year-long fight by parents to keep it open.

The battle culminated in a High Court case, where Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG), which funds health care services in West Herts, was ordered to go back and consult properly with Herts County Council, which funds social care.

At a board meeting last week, HVCCG decided to close Nascot Lawn and instead co-fund overnight short breaks with Herts County Council and East and North Herts CCG, where each CCG provides £100k each.

HVCCG’s chair Dr Nicholas Small said: “We continue to see the needs of this group of children as absolutely central and working together closely - with families and partners at Hertfordshire County Council - is our top priority as we move towards new care arrangements.

“We will now redouble our efforts with our county council colleagues to progress the transition arrangements and will formalise the agreement with our partners to contribute the £100k per year towards supporting children and families who need respite care.”

HVCCG had previously funded Nascot Lawn to a tune of £600k per year, meaning they would save £500k at a time when they are struggling to break even.

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One of the parents fighting to keep the centre open, David Josephs from Harpenden, said: “The reaction we had was one of inevitability and disappointment that despite all our efforts the CCG is continuing down this route of withdrawing the funding.

“They are offering a smaller sum of money to work with the council to try and provide adequate respite care in the other county council-run respite centres, so they are not completely walking away from their responsibilities, but I think from parents’ perspective there are still huge concerns about whether these alternative provisions will be safe and whether there will be sufficient capacity.”

Mr Josephs has said the parents will continue campaigning.