South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has called on NHS Dumfries and Galloway to consider re-opening some vital children’s respite care services across the region.
Guidance from the Scottish Government on phase 1 of the lockdown lifting measures states that “access to respite/day care to support unpaid carers and for families with a disabled family member” can be considered at this time.
Colin Smyth has written to NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Jeff Ace to ask the local health board to consider re-starting children and young people’s respite care services in the region, if it can be done safely.
Colin Smyth said: “Respite services for children and young people are a lifeline for many families across our region. We have amazing facilities such as Acorn House in Dumfries, which provides respite breaks for children with learning disabilities, challenging behaviour or complex needs.
“During the Covid-19 lockdown, these services have quite rightly stopped, but as we are now reaching the end of phase one of the lockdown lifting measures, I believe it is time for NHS Dumfries and Galloway to examine how they can go about re-opening some of their respite services for children and young people in a safe way.
“If they decide not to physically re-open facilities such as Acorn House at this time, the local NHS have a duty to explain what they are doing to support families who would normally have had access to respite care.
“Obviously safety is paramount, and we need to continue to follow advice about what can and cannot re-open. However, Scottish Government guidance recommends that access to respite or day care for carers and family with a disabled family member can restart at this point, so the local NHS have a clear duty to consider how best to achieve that as quickly as possible.
“I have therefore written to NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Jeff Ace to ask him how respite services can be safely re-opened and I hope that very soon those who need respite services can once again access them.”