Consultation into reduction of beds at Hayling Island respite centre begins
A CONSULTATION looking at scrapping three beds at a respite centre for disabled adults has begun.
The Hampshire County Council survey is asking the public to consider reducing beds at Orchard Close on Hayling Island from 13 to 10.
Councillors suggested the move after opting not to close the site this month, following more than a year of opposition from county carers.
To keep it open and still make savings, the authority has also suggested opening three of its respite centres to other councils and the NHS.
Hindson House in Basingstoke, Jacob’s Lodge in Totton and Newcroft, in Locks Heath, would be part of the deal which could save £285,000.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, executive member for adult social care and health, said: ‘The financial pressures facing the local authority remain significant.
‘Any savings made from these proposals would help to ensure that we are able to continue to provide respite support to all those who are eligible and need it, both in our own residential accommodation and other settings.
‘The views of those who use our services, as well as the public, are important to us, and will be taken fully into account when a final decision is made in the spring.’
Joanne Port from Havant, a full-time carer to her 27-year-old son, Daniel, hailed Orchard Close’s survival as ‘absolutely amazing news’.
But her campaign group, Save Orchard Close, is not taking it for gospel – with the council set to implement the result of this latest consultation in the spring.
A spokesman said: ‘We are pleased about current recommendations but very concerned that it still may close.’
Hampshire County Council customers would be prioritised if the trio of other centres are opened for wider use.
The council said ‘key partner organisations’ would be charged for the beds they use.
The changes come after the council announced in 2017 a need to save £140m across its services because of funding shortfalls.
The consultation on Orchard Close and other centres will close at midnight on Sunday, February 9, 2020 and can be accessed here.