Alex calls for ‘pause’ on proposed respite care changes

Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, has called for Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to undertake a pause in its proposals to make changes to respite care at Aysgarth, Stockton, until it properly addresses the issues raised by users and carers.

This follows a consultation held by the CCG on its proposals to make changes to its provision for respite opportunities at Aysgarth and 2 Bankfields Court, for people with complex needs, learning disabilities and/or autism. The consultation proposed two options –

  1. Buying a range of ‘Bed Based’ Respite services to replace the existing services; changing allocations process to be more ‘needs led’; and buying flexible respite services;
  2. Continuing to buy ‘Bed Based’ Respite services at 2 Bankfields Court and Aysgarth; changing the assessment and allocations process, and buying flexible respite services.

However, in letter to the CCG, Alex has raised concerns about the consultation process, in particular regarding the quality of detail of the information that has been provided to service users and over questions of who would be responsible for the proposed alternative provision. Alex’s letter also calls on the CCG to offer clarity on whether either choice means a reduction of respite care provision.

Alex said:

A number of parents and carers have been in touch with me about these proposals, and are clearly distressed at what they see as, at best, a reduction in respite care provision – particularly overnight respite care. It is vitally important that we get respite services right for both users and their carers, but to do that both parties need a better understanding of what they’re being asked to decide on.

I think it is essential that the CCG pauses the process and properly addresses the concerns raised by service users and carers. Failure to do so will inevitably result in a loss of trust towards the CCG, and only serve to confirm the view of some that this consultation is merely a paper exercise.

The consultation covered a 10 week period between Monday 4 September and Friday 10 November.