Par­ents’ ‘last re­sort’ bid to re­verse respite care cuts

Af­fected fam­i­lies call for meet­ing with MSPS

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - NA­DIA VIDINOVA

Par­ents of dis­abled chil­dren have called for a meet­ing with 19 MSPS from Tay­side and Fife in a “last re­sort” bid to re­verse cuts to respite care.

The Glen­law Par­ent/carer Group wants the “real de­ci­sion-makers” to hear first-hand how cuts at Glen­law House in Dundee are af­fect­ing fam­i­lies, some of whom care for mul­ti­ple chil­dren with com­plex needs.

The respite cen­tre, based at King’s Cross Hos­pi­tal, provides overnight care for chil­dren aged up to 18 with pro­found learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties.

Fam­i­lies say the number of beds has been re­duced in the past five years from six to just two dur­ing the week and four at week­ends, with no emer­gency beds.

NHS Tay­side says it has been forced to limit the number of beds for safety reasons, due to dif­fi­cul­ties in re­cruit­ing staff.

Allan Petrie, chair­man of the cam­paign group, has now writ­ten to MSPS in Dundee, An­gus, Perth and Kin­ross and Fife, invit­ing them to talks in St Ninian’s Church on Septem­ber 28.

Mr Petrie said: “NHS Tay­side have said th­ese cuts are tem­po­rary. How­ever they said the same thing af­ter ev­ery other cut to bed pro­vi­sion in the past, yet more cuts in beds have been made.

“This is now a last re­sort – a call to meet with the real de­ci­sion-makers so they can hear first-hand what ef­fect th­ese cuts are hav­ing.”

A pe­ti­tion to in­crease respite care and stop cuts from pos­si­bly clos­ing the ser­vice al­to­gether has at­tracted around 5,500 sig­na­tures.

Mr Petrie cares for three grand­chil­dren, in­clud­ing nine-year-old Me­gan who has a se­vere learn­ing dis­abil­ity called FOXG1 Syn­drome.

He said: “Respite is not only a chance to re­cover from the ex­haust­ing work of car­ing for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but also for fam­i­lies to give at­ten­tion to their other chil­dren, who of­ten miss out on ac­tiv­i­ties.

“With­out respite, the needs of th­ese chil­dren will end up ne­glected.”

Dr Karen Nai­smith, lead con­sul­tant for chil­dren’s com­plex dis­abil­ity ser­vices at NHS Tay­side, said: “The fa­cil­ity is reg­is­tered with the Care In­spec­torate due to its unique po­si­tion of be­ing a health fa­cil­ity pro­vid­ing respite care and it is re­quired to have a cer­tain staff to pa­tient ra­tio.

“There have been sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges re­cruit­ing to va­cant posts within the com­plex dis­abil­ity ser­vice and this has meant that the number of beds that we can safely op­er­ate at Glen­law House has been re­duced.”

She said health bosses would seek a meet­ing with the par­ents and car­ers to ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion, adding: “As soon as we re­cruit to all our vacancies we hope to in­crease our beds ac­cord­ingly.”

Pic­ture: Mhairi Ed­wards.

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