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Are you carer of a person with a learning disability? Have your say

Published: 4 December 2015

On Friday 4 December, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust will be launching a consultation on the proposed changes to Baytree House in Torquay, a short breaks and respite unit for carers of people with a learning disability.

Following a series of discussions with carers, the Trust wants to look at alternative ways of providing short breaks. It is proposing to close its in-house facility, Baytree House and work with carers and individuals to find new short break options. It wants to seek the views of carers who currently use Baytree House, carers who have children that may be transitioning into adult services shortly or anyone else who cares for somebody with a learning disability who may have an interest in the future of short breaks.

Liz Davenport, Chief Operating Officer at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said: “We made a commitment set out in our recent strategy for people with a learning disability to modernise the way that services are provided in Torbay. We want to enhance people’s experiences and give them more choice and control over the care and support that they need.

“However, this means that difficult decisions do need to be made about Baytree House. The building has a number of constraints. For example ceiling tracking, that enables the safe hoisting and movement of people around the premises, cannot be installed and it is inaccessible for wheelchair users. This means it is not always the most suitable care setting for individuals with for more complex physical needs. The unit has also seen a decline in use of recent years, with an occupancy rate of just 45 percent.

“By working with carers to seek new alternatives for short breaks in Torbay we are confident that we can create a wider breadth of services that better meet people’s needs and in the future.

“Through our conversations with carers of the last few months we know that any new short break service must be high quality, flexible and financially sustainable and we are committed to achieving this and supporting them throughout the process.”

Torbay Council’s Executive Lead for Adults and Children, Councillor Julien Parrott, said: “We welcome this consultation being undertaken by the Trust. Torbay faces a very challenging time, with difficult budget decisions to be made once again this year. However, it is really important that carers of people with a disability have their say and help shape the services that will give them the best possible support.

“As a council, we are responsible for adult social care and we want the services we commission to meet the needs of our residents. This consultation is a positive step towards shaping services and I look forward to leading discussions on feedback from the consultation early in the New Year.”

The Trust has already held a number of meetings, known as co-design sessions, to look at how carers and the Trust can work together to find new options for short breaks. All of the feedback that has been gained during co-design will be included in the consultation but the Trust is now asking people to respond formally to their proposals.

The consultation will run for a total of nine weeks from Friday 4 December 2015 to Friday 5 February 2016. You can take part in the consultation by post, online or by calling 01803 217695 and arranging to attend a one to one slot at a consultation surgery on Tuesday 15 December. A more detailed document setting out the need for change and the Trust’s proposals can be found online at