Future of Shirebrook learning disability centre in doubt

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The future of five centres which provide support for people with learning disabilities – including one in Shirebrook – is in doubt.

The five NHS-run learning disability short break centres in north Derbyshire – Rockley, on Carter Lane, Shirebrook, as well as sites in Buxton, Chesterfield, Darley Dale and Eckington – are currently supporting 60 to 70 families in need of high levels of care, with residential support led by nurses.

Three centres have already temporarily closed, with the Eckington and Chesterfield facilities shut due to not enough staff “to give a safe service”; and the Buxton facility closed because it could not be made Covid-secure.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A report on the centres was discussed in a Derbyshire Council meeting.

County Hall, home of Derbyshire Council.County Hall, home of Derbyshire Council.
County Hall, home of Derbyshire Council.

NHS Derbyshire officials said the facilities were used by 60-70 families, but use was decreasing with occupancy at 17 per cent, compared with 43 per cent in 2018. The meeting heard the services are costing £1.4 million, a set rate regardless of people using them.

They said some families had stopped using the facilities, while others only used them once or twice a year.

They have already concluded that: “As currently commissioned and delivered, the learning disability short breaks services do not represent fair and consistent use of funding. Benefit is not at population level and does not represent good value for money.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, they say the services can continue to play a role in providing support, but this should be through provision closer to home in most circumstances.

Read More
14 pubs in Mansfield with beer gardens you can enjoy as the weather gets warmer

Mick Burrows, of the NHS Derbyshire Integrated Care Board, said: “The majority of families do not require nurse-led services and do not meet the eligibility for NHS to be funding short breaks.”

James Lewis, ICB head of joint strategic commissioning for learning disabilities and autism, said the services were “significantly more costly than the private sector or county council”.

Coun Peter Smith said users will be “fearful of change” and need to have consistency and be reassured.

Coun Gary Musson said: “£1.4m is a lot of money, but it is now looking like a very ineffectual service due to the decline in use.”