|Watford Labour Party||
“We the undersigned are calling upon the Watford’s Conservative MP, Richard Harrington, to demand from the Government full funding for Watford’s Health services so as to avoid £45 million cuts to our local NHS and the closure of Nascot Lawn.
“We are also demanding the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group reverses its decision to close the respite and medical services at Nascot Lawn."
Speech by Labour Councillor Asif Khan to Watford Council 11th July 2017
Saving Nascot Lawn
There are some things which are beyond politics. Above the petty squabbles of politicians. It is about doing the right thing. One of those things is to ensure the most vulnerable are protected and supported. Many families have contacted me, who are unable to attend tonight however are fully supporting our motion and thank us all for the actions we are undertaking.
This is a clear case we have today, that we are discussing – the closure of Nascot Lawn – a respite centre for disabled children. It needs all of us, the collective will of us all sitting here today to ensure that this centre remains open, fully funded and thrives for the children who go to it, and the families that are supported by it.
It is cruel to put these families and children through this pressure, stress and anxiety.
This centre not only provides respite for families, it also gives medical treatment offered by its staff. My fellow councillors, this centre is an asset for our Town. It should and indeed it does, give us great pride that we have such a magnificent resource in our town. It needs to remain open and be protected from closure.
Although the nominal responsibility lies between Herts County Council and Herts valleys Clinical Commissioning Group to fund this centre; ultimately and in reality both organisations are constrained by the vicious and callous cuts brought on by the Conservative government.
The CCG has to find £45 million of cuts and provide health care to the people of West Herts. How can anyone provide health care when they are looking to make cuts of such nature.
It was Ghandi who said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” Surely this case and the impact of austerity is an example which we are not proud of.
This motion also calls upon the MP for Watford, to step up to the plate, to bang of the door of Department of Health, the Chancellor, and his friend the Prime Minister to find the money for this centre and wider health care within Watford and Hertfordshire.
We are calling on him to also get his fellow Hertfordshire MP’s all 11 of them to collectively demand from the government the funding that is necessary for this centre and the health and care provision within Hertfordshire.
If 10 DUP MP’s can gain £1 billion to end austerity in Northern Ireland, then I’m sure the collective will of 11 Conservative MP’s of Hertfordshire can secure the funding for the beloved centre and the continued health provision for Hertfordshire.
Isn’t it time they too stand up for Watford’s and Hertfordshire’s people.
I would like to end with an email sent to me by a local mum, Liam’s mum, who sums up what Nascot Lawn means to her and her family.
“I am very pleased you've emailed me regarding Nascot Lawn as I was going to email you about the same thing. We use Nascot Lawn and are apart of the movement you've probably seen on social media to #SaveNascot. We are deeply upset and devastated by this decision and plan to fight tooth and nail to get this reversed or find a way to keep it open.
Nascot Lawn provides invaluable respite for families like mine. Liam has been going there for 7 years, first for day-care then for overnight stays. He's known these carers just as long; the consistency in care is important for his comfort. In fact, when we meet him there (we are the only family that needs to do this due to Liam's complex nature) he waves us away as he loves 'his women'. They perform his much needed Physiotherapy on his chest and help me assess his overall health as I can become blind and in denial to any deteriorations (they can be subtle day to day but Nascot see him sometimes once a week so can see the difference).
All of the above doesn't even include the respite they provide to me and my family. We get an opportunity to switch off, have a meal in an otherwise inappropriate place for a wheelchair, spend time individually with our other child, go shopping without having to push and trolley and wheelchair around, or most importantly go to sleep early and not be interrupted by alarms. These are things the mainstream take for granted but we quickly embrace when we have the chance.
We love our children and want to continue to care for them. Caring for them is all we want to do! But sometimes we need to care for ourselves too knowing that our children are also cared for. Please help us fight this harsh decision to close Nascot Lawn! The reality of the pressure on the NHS if this closes should be obvious: parents anxious and depressed, not being able to cope, children likely institutionalised, etc. This takes us back generations of fighting for our children's and our human rights! Please help us!”
Let’s all of us, support this motion and save Nascot Lawn.
Hertfordshire County Council backs motion to save Nascot Lawn
Nigel Bell's speech to the County Council meeting 18th July 2017
"It is with great regret that we as a Labour opposition group in conjunction with the Liberal Democrats have felt compelled to propose this motion and also in doing so rejecting the amendment by the Conservative administration.
I recognise that with their amendment the Leadership of the Council has moved further than I thought they would to try to come to an agreement on a form of words for an all-Party united front to show parents here and all the others desperately concerned in the County our genuine concerns for the welfare of their children.
One only has to start with the appalling failure by the CCG to consult with the parents and one can understand how the families have been so badly treated and the CCG failed in their duty of care.
I am sure again that all 78 of us here could not fail to be moved by the genuinely heart rending accounts by parents and families of the experiences of the daily struggles to cope that they have highlighted in their campaign.
For our part we still feel that the amendment does not give the security to the families (and not just the up to 80-children)but others in the system that they will have the option of the vital expert medical and health care at Nascot Lawn at least till 31st March 2018 and the greater possibility it can be prolonged beyond March 2018.
Again we also think that while it is right that that the CCG should not”be let off the hook” we want and need to stress the REAL responsibility for this financial mess and emotional suffering families are going through lies squarely with the Government.
After all it is them who created the CCGs and laid down the financial rules and criteria that has led to this CCG being in debt of £45million.
It is,therefore,only right that we specifically write to the 11-MPs in the County (who happen to all be Conservative)and show them we expect they will act for our and their residents in demanding action from the secretary of state for Health,Jeremy Hunt.
It is not unreasonable or unfair for the parents of these vulnerable children to expect their MPs to use their undoubted influence to lobby their colleagues right up to Downing street if necessary to ease their plight and at least on one aspect of their stressful lives provide some sort of security.
The parents here as so many of our residents across the County expected nothing else than their MPs and us as their representatives to do our job and scrutinise and hold to account the CCG but ultimately the government in providing the adequate financial resources to provide full and proper respite care as legally bound.
These parents will all their extra parental caring responsibilities should not have to make the time to be concerned with the financial arguments and extra reassessments put forward by the CCG,they expect to be provided with the service of care as laid out in law.
In our corporate plan the Council is always supposed to take into account and help the most vulnerable in Hertfordshire so we would be failing if we didn’t get the right outcome for these families.
I don’t apologise for pointing out as others have done that if 10-DUP MPs in Northern Ireland can get a deal worth £1billion to keep the government afloat,why can’t our 11-Conservative MPs in Hertfordshire get together and demand the far less amount that would be needed as a sensible settlement for health and social care here?
So whether it be Richard Harrington the MP for Watford and Nascot Lawn or David Gauke,Chief secretary to the Treasury and MP for south-west Herts,Charles Walker Grant Schapps or any of the other 7-we need them to stand up and intervene and do their job.
I,therefore,appeal with all humility to all members across the chamber here today to support our well thought out motion and send a clear message to the Government that this Council is united in demanding swift and decisive action to save Nascot Lawn and to let these families have the respite care they are legally and morally owed."