Bristol

Third of beds cut at Bristol respite care centres in bid to save money

Bush Residential Resource Centre Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption The Bush and New Belbrook centres provide respite care for parents of disabled children in Bristol

Two respite care centres in Bristol are to have their beds cut by a third in a bid to save £325,000 per year.

Councillors approved plans to reduce bed numbers at New Belbrook and The Bush units from 15 to 10, on Tuesday.

The council said the service for parents of disabled children costs £1m a year and savings would be invested in "other types of short break services".

Campaigner Freja Gregory, said respite care was "already stretched" and the council was "taking the easiest line".

'Sacrificing disabled group'

Bristol City Council said it would continue to fund both units but the savings could provide short breaks services for an additional 50 to 60 families.

"We have over-provision of residential beds," a council spokesman said.

"In 2012-13 there were around 800 bed nights when beds in our residential short breaks units were empty, at a cost of £450 per night."

But Ms Gregory said the units "have to have a certain amount of flexibility" for emergency admissions.

"There may be nights when the occupancy is 70% but you can't run a service like that and have all the beds full all the time," she said.

"They've got to make the cuts, I agree, but they're sacrificing a very small but very severely disabled group of families."

The changes are due to be implemented next June.

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