Beeches respite care centre closure consultation extended

A fresh consultation is to be carried out into a proposal to close a respite care centre for disabled children.

NHS Surrey initially said Beeches Bungalow, in Reigate, was not providing value for taxpayers' money.

However, following pressure from parents, it has now agreed to look into how heavily the centre is relied upon before taking a final decision.

Paul Placitelli, whose 12-year-old son James uses the centre, said parents were very concerned about the plans.

"It's an absolute lifeline for families. It means as parents we get a night's sleep once a month," he said.

His son has a mental age of one, suffers from seizures, and is doubly incontinent.

'Very sorry'

Mr Placitelli said there was no prior warning that the respite centre would close.

"We were astounded because the reason put in there was under use, and we know as families how hard and desperate it is to get respite care agreed."

NHS Surrey has now admitted that families who use Beeches Bungalow were not asked how the closure plans would affect them.

In a statement, it said: "Clearly, we have not got this right and we are very sorry to all the affected parents.

"We are urgently following up the issues raised by Beeches parents at a recent meeting with Surrey County Council, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, facilitated by Surrey Local Involvement Network."

It said it had appeared the centre was not providing value for money based on information it had about the level of usage, the increase in the range of alternative support, and the choices being made by parents and families.

"Therefore, we believed at the time there was a real patient benefit to be gained to redesign the short breaks provision to better effect and increase the community health provision across Surrey for children with disabilities.

"What is clear is that we have not completed this review satisfactorily and an area of outstanding action is our requirement to complete a full equality analysis."

It added that parents would be involved in the next steps in planning the care for their children.

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