I’m delighted that the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee made up of Councillors from each of the four local authorities has also backed families who currently use 2 Bankfields Court mental health unit. I now hope senior officers from the South Tees Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) will abandon any proposed changes when they receive the formal response ahead of their January 2018 deadline.
The Joint Overview and scrutiny Panel, after carefully considering the evidence, have unanimously rejected the CCG recommendations insisting that respite provision for people with learning disabilities and complex needs, as is currently provided at Bankfields (as well as Aysgarth in Stockton) be retained as a matter of priority.
The consultation proposed two options. The first would mean people would not get bed based respite from 2 Bankfields Court, but could get alternative bed based respite elsewhere. Option two would see some people still use 2 Bankfields Court for bed based respite but depending on their assessed need and resource allocation, they may have the opportunity to access alternative community based services.
This, understandably, horrified families of adults with severe learning disabilities and complex medical needs using the unit” said Mr McDonald. “I have received representations from them and met senior CCG officials to press home the consequences for families and their loved ones of any changes to the services as currently provided for adults with severe learning disabilities and complex medical needs.
This only comes about, of course, because of a Tory government that will not properly fund our NHS and are also starving mental health services of the support they need. It is a national as well as local problem as cuts to respite care since 2010/11 and the true impact of austerity strikes those in the greatest need, often those worst off and who find themselves constantly having to fight for the help. That is a shameful state of affairs.
I now urge the CCG to listen and act on the representations that are being made on behalf of families and I will be watching the situation very closely.