BuDS welcomes the publication of Bucks CC’s proposal to move the County’s only bed-based respite service for disabled people from Seeleys House in Beaconsfield to the site currently occupied by Aylesbury Day Opportunity Centre. Families and disabled people who rely on this service now have more understanding about its future after a period of anxious uncertainty.
You can learn more about Bucks CC’s proposal here:
A new bed-based relief service in Aylesbury
1. BuDS very much welcomes Bucks County Council and the NHS’s commitment to continue to provide a bed-based respite service for disabled people with higher levels of need. This is an essential service for families and disabled people, even in times of tight spending.
2. We welcome also the change from a purely social care respite service to a joint NHS and social care respite service. Many disabled people who use the service have complex health needs alongside their care needs and having a specialist nurse on site in the future is an overdue improvement. Families who have been unable to use the bed-based respite service owing to the lack of a nurse will be able to use it in the future, and some existing users will be reassured by this change too. More disabled people with a health budget will also be able to access the service.
3. With this in mind, BuDS does question if enough beds are being provided at Aylesbury, given the potential increase in number of the families that will be able to use it in the future. The beds at Seeleys House were in constant use and an expansion of the service does seem appropriate. We call on the Council to publish its estimates of future demand.
4. BuDS has concerns, too, whether the new service will be properly equipped to care for disabled people with behaviour that challenges. We would like assurances from Bucks CC and the NHS that safety of users and staff at the new service has been considered.
5. We recognise that moving individuals with learning disabilities from familiar surroundings to a new area may be stressful for some of the individuals concerned. The move from Beaconsfield to Aylesbury will give rise to practical transport and other problems to overcome. We call on the Council to work with families to prepare people for this change through both care plans and carer’s plans.
Day Services for Disabled People
BuDS has significant concerns about the implications of the Bucks CC proposal for day services for disabled people:
1. What will happen to the disabled people using the existing Day Opportunities Centre in Aylesbury, which is to close to be converted into the new bed-based respite centre? While Bucks CC suggests that these disabled people will be supported to find alternative support and services, there is little detail and we wonder if this is realistic, given the current shape of the ‘Short Breaks’ service. We call on Bucks CC to guarantee that existing day service users in Aylesbury who are entitled to support will be helped to access a replacement in good time before the closure of the Centre.
2. The Council’s proposal does not seem to give any information about the future of the well-used day provision at Seeleys House. This is a vital resource for disabled people with complex needs living in South Bucks and needs to continue at this site or another in the local area. It would not be appropriate for the disabled users of Seeleys House day provision to have to travel to Aylesbury for their day care.
BuDS will continue to monitor this issue and do all it can to protect the interests of disabled people in Bucks.