Plans to close a vital respite centre for children with the most complex needs in Hertfordshire could still be referred to the Secretary of State.
Herts County Council issued the warning on Tuesday, July 17, at an extraordinary general meeting.
Health bosses at the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group, which oversees healthcare across the area, took the decision to withdraw funding for the facility earlier this year.
They are currently working on a legal agreement with the county council and the East and North Herts CCG to support future care at the council’s three existing respite facilities.
But councillors say that they will make the move if sufficient progress is not made by August 31.
Cllr Seamus Quilty, chairman of the council’s health scrutiny committee, said: “If the CCG do not sign the the Section 75 agreement I will be the first to stand here and recommend this goes to the Secretary of State – because it would be against the interests of the children.
“But if they do sign the agreement I believe we will have funding in place for children’s services to deliver what they can do best, which is for the benefit of the children.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Chris White – who proposed the action in a motion to full council – said Herts Valleys CCG should seen this as a warning.
“The CCG must understand that the council means business – not only on Nascot Lawn, but on future issues too,” he said.
The plans to close Nascot Lawn – which offers respite to children with some of the most complex needs in Hertfordshire – have caused months of concern, anxiety and protest from parents and campaigners.
And staffing shortages mean only one Nascot Lawn family is currently receiving the level of respite care they have been allocated.
A number of children have already transferred to other respite facilities. And plans are being drawn up for two extra bedrooms at the council’s West Hyde facility, to accommodate children with the most complex needs.
But the Council heard that a lack of nursing care was causing some problems for children using alternative respite facilities.
Labour councillor Margaret Eames-Petersen highlighted cases where children were having to be taken to hospital – or their parents called back – if a gastric tube needed to be replaced.
“We haven’t got the right contingencies available for these children unless we keep Nascot Lawn open,” she said.
Labour councillors had called for the leader of the council to contact the Secretary of State urgently to call for funds for Nascot Lawn to stay open. But the motion was voted down.