Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Family in Wrangle over Respite Care; Mother Shocked at Offer of One Week a Year for Daughter

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Family in Wrangle over Respite Care; Mother Shocked at Offer of One Week a Year for Daughter

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ben Guy

THE mother of a woman with severe learning disabilities has hit out after she was denied sufficient access to a flagship respite centre.

Until she turned 18 last week, Katie Rees had received fortnightly respite care at the Monksfield centre for young people in Hex-ham, but because she is now classed as an adult, she has to move to another centre that caters for her needs.

Her mother, Samantha, thought the perfect solution lay at the Alan Shearer Centre, in Newcastle's West End, relatively close to the family home in Haydon Bridge, and a visit confirmed that it met all Katie's needs.

But Mrs Rees said she had been left shocked by the level of respite care her daughter had been offered at the centre by Northumberland Care Trust.

She said: "Adult services have decided that we can have one week per year, which works out at about one night of respite every seven weeks and is clearly not sufficient.

"At Monksfield, she had one night a fortnight and an extra week during the year.

"Alan Shearer put a lot of money into this resource and it provides a fantastic service for families like us, but what is the point if Northumberland Care Trust cannot fund children like my daughter.

"It's a disgrace because there is nowhere else suitable for my daughter's needs. We are absolutely desperate for respite and feel that one night every seven weeks is pathetic."

There are about 1,200 families in need of regular respite care across the North-East.

Mrs Rees, who cares for her daughter with her husband Stephen, said respite was particularly important as it allowed them to spend time with their son, Caleb, 10.

She added that her frustration had been increased by the fact that the decision had been made without the family meeting with, or speaking on the phone to, a care trust representative. …

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