Lawyers At Irwin Mitchell To Argue Proposal To Cease Nascot Lawn Funding Is Unlawful
A judicial review into the decision to withdraw funding for a centre that provides respite care for disabled children is set to begin on Tuesday 6th February in the High Court in London.
The future of Nascot Lawn in Watford is under threat following the decision by Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to end the £650,000 it provides to the ‘vital community lifeline.’
Specialist lawyers from Irwin Mitchell, representing users of the service, will argue that the CCG’s decision is unlawful because the health body has failed to legally consult with families who will be severely affected by the closure. It has also breached its duty under the National Health Services Act and the Equality Act, the law firm will say.
Expert OpinionTaking the case to a judicial review has been a decision that has not been taken lightly but the families feel they have no alternative.
“We now look forward to putting the case forward in the hope that this vital community lifeline remains open so it can continue providing excellent care to children and their families.” Alex Rook - Partner
HVCCG originally announced plans to withdraw funding for the centre in spring 2017. A legal challenge against that decision was launched.
However, days before a judicial review was due to be heard in the High Court over the legality of proposal, the CCG agreed to set aside its decision to stop funding. The High Court quashed its decision and ordered the CCG to pay the legal costs.
Now health bosses have once again decided to withdraw the funding, putting the centre back at risk of closure.
A petition to keep the centre open has gained over 15,000 signatures and the issue was discussed in the House of Lords. Six local MPs have also written to the Department of Health inviting NHS England to hold HVCCG to account.
Among the families that Irwin Mitchell represents is Satnam Kaur, from Bushey, whose 14-year-old daughter Gurpreet has a range of complex needs and has used Nascot Lawn since she was one.
Satnam said: “Since last spring there has been anger, tears and frustration among all the families who rely on Nascot Lawn. Despite putting our argument forward time and time again we have not been listened to.
“It’s not just my family who would be devastated if Nascot Lawn closed; all the families who need the centre would be left in turmoil.”
Emma Turner’s 10-year-old daughter Sienna Scott also uses the centre two nights per month.
Emma, from Hemel Hempstead, added: “This issue has never been about the level of care that Nascot Lawn provides. All the families have got nothing but praise for the staff at Nascot Lawn and are so grateful for how they go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome.
“The CCG has constantly failed to understand the importance of the centre in providing respite care for children, many of whom have complex needs, and their families. If Nascot Lawn closed there would be no other suitable centres in the area that could care for the children.
“We just hope that the decision goes in our favour.”
Angelina Sclafani-Murphy’s eight-year-old son Liam Murphy also relies on Nascot Lawn.
She said: “The closure of Nascot Lawn will be devastating for my family, and I feel extremely frustrated that the CCG continue to use language which masks the simple reality that there are no other options available for Liam. I feel that I am unable to get straight answers from the CCG to any of my concerns.”
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