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Heartless Herts Valleys CCG Pull the Plug on Nascot Lawn Childrens' Respite Care Centre.

Nascot Lawn EntranceYesterday the Herts Valleys CCG made the appalling announcement that they had confirmed their previous decision to withdraw their £600,000 annual support for Nascot Lawn children's respite care home. Cynically they claim their decision was taken because the County Council had failed to engage with them in looking for a workable way forward, when it has been their failure to engage from the outset that has caused this dreadful situation to occur.

What has the CCG been doing for the last six weeks during the engagement process? The one glimmer of hope is that their funding has to continue for a further six months, which provides a desperately short period of opportunity for a viable respite service to be formed. In the meantime, the families face a bleak future with no idea how they and their vulnerable children will receive respite care.

Liberal Democrat County Councillor Mark Watkin, Opposition Spokesperson for Children's Services, and in whose Division Nascot Lawn is located, commented: "I am so saddened and angry by the failure of the CCG to look for a viable way forward. We know that they are facing a massive financial challenge, but simply pulling the financial plug and hoping that others will provide the solution is disgraceful. The CCG must now sit down with the county council and the families with one aim only - to find a solution that will deliver the respite care that these families need and deserve."

Councillor Peter Taylor, Deputy Mayor of Watford, commented: "I am so upset for the families who will be affected by this decision. They have fought an amazing campaign to save this much-loved centre and remained incredibly positive throughout. It is now vital that all sides work together to support the children and families who currently use Nascot Lawn."

Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Tring, Nick Hollinghurst added, "There are several local families in Tring, Northchurch and Berkhamsted for whom respite care provides an essential break for carers, parents and other family members. - and the young people themselves enjoy the breaks too. Instead of making the case to the NHS for extra funding Herts Valley CCG has resorted to legal casuistry to shed cost and pass the responsibility and expense over to Herts County Council. With £80 million being taken out of the council's government support grant over the last 4 years, HCC is already under enormous financial strain. We will have to now cut our care budget somewhere else to make up for the CCG's failure.

He concluded, "However, I am very angry, not just because of the hardship and distress being visited on disadvantaged children and their loving parents but because the CCG is slandering the county council with its insinuation that this situation has something to do with an imagined unwillingness by them to co-operate. This matter has been debated in the Council Chamber. Briefings, updates and inter-party discussions have taken place. Council officers have striven mightily to reach an agreement - efforts rewarded now with this bureaucratik diktat. The public are entitled to better service from their public servants in the NHS."