Hillcote respite centre to close next year

Save Hillcote campaign poster Hillcote respite centre will close on 1 April 2015

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The closure of a respite centre for families of severely disabled children in Wiltshire is to be delayed until next year.

Hillcote in Salisbury, which costs £600,00 a year to run, was to shut this April after Wiltshire Council and the NHS said it was "not cost effective".

Campaigner Dr Angela Scott said parents were "disappointed" with the decision.

The Clinical Commissioning Group said the extra 12 months should "ensure a smooth transition for the families".

The council said earlier only eight children used the unit and savings could be spent on "improving more home-based foster care".

'Specialist carers'

A campaign group to keep Hillcote open was set up in July after parents were told of the proposal to close it.

Closing Hillcote means children will have to travel to a centre in Devizes, about 25 miles (40km) away.

Chair of the commissioning group Dr Stephen Rowlands said: "Very few families currently use Hillcote and so the proposal is to implement a new model of overnight short breaks for services for disabled children and young people."

He said families with children over 16 would also have the "potential option" of using the Bradbury House respite unit in Salisbury.

"It will also give us the opportunity to develop a specialist carers service, with a minimum of two specialist carers in south Wiltshire to replace Hillcote," he added.

He said it was "not a cost cutting exercise" but a "re-investment of the money".

Dr Scott, from the group Save Hillcote, said they were disappointed at the decision by the Wiltshire Commissioning Group and that they would be "reassessing their position" before a meeting with parents next week.

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