Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has secured an adjournment debate scheduled for Monday 12th March on respite care for vulnerable adults in Teesside.
Respite is being cut in the area from 33 nights to less than half of that, with 15 nights being the expected maximum. Many disabled and vulnerable adults are cared for by family members and loved ones who look after them for twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Respite care is a lifeline to give family carers a proper break and space to look after themselves to enable them to have the energy and ability to look after their loved ones.
The argument of local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) is that they are maintaining the level of funding available for respite services, but they are changing the way that they spend the money in order to expand provision to more families in need.
But this has caused a backlash including concerns from the health scrutiny panel, local Members of Parliament, the parents of people who access residential accommodation at Bankfields and Aysgarth on Teesside, and an 8000-strong petition. A consultation was carried out by the CCGs, but it failed to include an option to extend current provision, and instead will water down current provision by cutting the number of respite nights available for carers.
I’m pleased to have been able to secure this debate on such an important topic. Many of our healthcare staff are hardworking and trying to make the best out of a difficult situation. This largely comes down to the national Government’s failure to give social care the funding and resource it so desperately needs.
I will keep pushing on this issue, and I will work with local families who are barely getting by as it is, without the heavy cut to respite services.