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Bishop's Stortford respite care home for disabled to close at end of July – 10 months later than originally planned

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A Bishop's Stortford care home offering short-break respite support to adults with learning and physical disabilities is closing for good.

The four-bedroom accommodation at 32 Apton Road should have shut by the end of September last year, but the cost-cutting programme by Hertfordshire County Council was disrupted because of the Covid-19 crisis.

The authority aims to save around £900,000 by rationalising the service after a vote by its adult care and health cabinet panel in February 2020.

The driveway entrance to 32 Apton Road, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: Vikki Lince
The driveway entrance to 32 Apton Road, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: Vikki Lince

As well as the unit in Apton Road, councillors agreed to close accommodation in Hemel Hempstead and St Albans. They shut their doors in May and June respectively.

Last Thursday (July 15), the panel was given an update on progress and was told that Apton Road would follow by the end of July.

There were eight centres across Hertfordshire where adults with physical and learning disabilities could stay overnight. The three to close were identified because alternatives within 15 miles were available to most affected families.

The Apton Road centre, rated 'good' by the Care Quality Commission when it was last inspected in 2018, has four beds. Between April 2017 and October 2018 the occupancy rate was 63%. That fell to 46% between October 2018 and July 2019.

Of its clients, two people have moved to supported living, two no longer needed short breaks and two had short breaks for short-term reasons.

A report to the panel says: "There is one individual/family whose care and support plan for an alternate service has not yet been agreed. We are working closely with them to determine their preferred outcome.

"The unit is no longer staffed, however special arrangements have been made for this one individual, who has booked a stay in June. This will be the final stay for anyone at Apton and there are no future planned bookings available. Therefore, Apton Road will close as a short break unit by the end of July."

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