South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the decision by NHS Dumfries and Galloway to adopt his proposal that an external independent adviser should be brought in to carry out the review of Short Breaks Services, following criticism by parents of the current review.

Colin Smyth has been contacted by parents across Dumfries and Galloway concerned about the future of Acorn House in Dumfries, which provides short-term stay respite breaks for children and young people with learning disabilities, challenging behaviour or complex needs.

As a result, the local MSP met with NHS Dumfries and Galloway earlier this week and urged them to put a halt to the current review and bring in an external independent adviser to carry out any review and properly involve parents. They agreed to take the matter to the review project board, who have now agreed to the MSPs proposal.

Colin Smyth said, “Parents are rightly angry that they haven’t been properly consulted during the current review of the short term breaks service for their children and were deeply concerned that the review was already a done deal, with Acorn House closing. I urged the NHS to put a halt to the existing process and bring in someone independent of the local NHS to carry out an external review and fully involve parents. Only by properly involving parents will the NHS be able to regain their trust and meet the needs of the children who . I am pleased therefore that NHS Dumfries and Galloway have agreed to my proposal and I hope it now leads to a review that will ensure parents and their children are at the very heart of the process. Everyone knows that the local NHS have a massive budget challenge as a result of the fact their funding is not keeping up with demand but the services provided at Acorn House are a real lifeline for many local families. We need to avoid at all costs reducing the provision available to some of our most vulnerable young people and that’s what I will be pressing for when the external review begins”.

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