Council Branded 'Disgrace' Over Heller House

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Campaigners say the mother of a severely autistic teenager who's in hospital after suffering a heart attack, is facing additional stress brought about by Ealing Council's decision to close a vital respite home.

They've branded Ealing Council 'a disgrace' for allegedly inititally failing to help the woman find suitable care close to home for her son after she was hospitalised at the weekend.

Councillors agreed in February to shut Heller House - the only home for youngsters with complex needs in the borough. It's due to close fully in June and is currently being wound down.

Heller House

Siobhan Bryer set up a petition against the decision which has now reached nearly 6,000. She says: "The stress levels this woman must be going through are unimaginable and any medic will tell you that it is very dangerous to have any levels of stress in the days following a heart attack. There is a high risk of having another heart attack. Ealing is a disgrace.

''Ealing assured parents that future respite would be close by. They have ONE child to find respite for and cannot even do that.''

"Please sign our petition and let Ealing Labour know that residents will not put up with hurting the most vulnerable.''

Jacqueline Swords whose sons have both used Heller House says, " The uncertainty of where her child will be and knowing it will not be in his best interests to be placed somewhere unfamiliar is exacerbating her stress level. In short it's unforgivable of Ealing Children and Disabilities team to behave this way and it's another reminder of why we need our own respite centre in Ealing.''

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Jon Ball, said, ''I am deeply disappointed to hear that Heller House is already becoming unavailable in carers' moments of need. I support the legal action that is being taken against Ealing Council on behalf of some of the children who use Heller House. I hope that the courts will compel the Council to rethink its decision to permanently deprive Ealing residents of this vital facility.''

Conservative Councillor, Theresa Mullins, said: '' Heller House has provided fantastic support of respite care to so many families over the years.  It is quite frankly outrageous that Ealing Council is even contemplating its closure while considering sending the families up to an hour’s drive away. I know many of the families myself and can well understand how the uncertainty would cause undue stress to them.  I am working with the families to do all we can to ensure that the council provides a sensible solution.''

Ealing Council previously said it would 'continue to meet its statutory obligation to provide respite care to eligible families by supporting individual choice and where required commissioning packages of care from respite providers in Ealing and neighbouring boroughs.'

A council spokeswoman said: “The council has and continues to work closely with the family in providing appropriate support during this difficult time for them. 

''In agreement with the young person's parents, we extended his planned stay last weekend at Heller House by two nights until Tuesday. Heller House was not due to open on Tuesday night and we therefore offered to provide professional carers at home as an alternative. Instead we supported the family’s decision for close relatives to care for him at home and we have arranged for additional care to be provided at Heller House for the remainder of the week.''


21st April 2016 (updated)

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