Transforming Care: Review of Respite Services for People with Learning Disabilities and Complex Needs


Final decision following public consultation

Following the  public consultation, the NHS on Teesside has agreed to introduce changes to respite services for adults (18+) with a learning disability, complex needs and/or autism. The decision taken by both NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-On-Tees (HAST) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS South Tees CCG at the Governing Body In-Common on 1st February 2018 agreed to commission a range of services to improve choice whilst recognising the importance of retaining the current facilities available.

This means that bed based services will continue to be delivered from 2 Bankfields Court in Middlesbrough and Aysgarth in Stockton-on-Tees. Other changes to be implemented to make the service more equitable for people with a learning disability include:

  • Changing the assessment and allocations process, making it more needs led;
  • Offering more choice and improved focus on the needs of people with a learning disability and their carers and families;
  • Buying flexible community-based respite services and clinically-led outreach support services so that people with a learning disability can choose from a range of respite activities with the appropriate support they need.

The decision follows extensive feedback from people who currently access services, their families and carers, and other key stakeholders as part of the 10-week formal public consultation process, which ran from September to November 2017.

Ali Wilson, Chief Officer of NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG, and Amanda Hume, Chief Officer of NHS South Tees CCG said in a joint statement: “The CCGs are pleased to support the recommended changes and would like to thank all those who contributed to the consultation; from people who access current services and their families and carers to key stakeholders such as our local authorities for their participation and feedback which has made this a truly participative process.

“We know how much the existing services and staff mean to people. We heard first-hand at our public consultation events the impact the services have on families across South Tees and the Hartlepool and Stockton areas.

“All the feedback received from the consultation; including both verbal and completed questionnaires; was vitally important in helping the CCGs make an informed decision on the future of learning disability services, and a decision that we believe reflects the majority view of people who took part in the consultation process.”

Following the outcome of the decision making in relation to the future of respite services for people with Learning Disabilities and complex needs on 1 February 2018, the CCGs are keen to continue to involve families and carers in how future services are developed. If you are interested in working with the CCGs on the further development of the proposals then please email the North of England Commissioning Support engagement team at or telephone 0191 374 2795.  

Reports on the public consultation (held from 4 September 2017 to 10 November 2017)

The independent report of the public consultation on learning disability respite services has been published and is available to download below:

Independent consultation report

Easyread of independent consultation report


Pre-consultation background documents


Consultation narrative document

Easyread consultation narrative

Consultation booklet

Stakeholder briefing

Press release

Frequently Asked Questions

Case for Change

Consultation events poster

Engagement session for voluntary sector organisations

Equality Impact Assessment

Previous engagement


Easyread Document – Review of Respite Services for people with learning disabilities and complex needs

The CCGs worked in partnership with the four Local Authorities across the South Tees and Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees areas to ensure that the review considered complex health and social care needs.

The aim of the review was to ensure that health respite services appropriately meet the needs of the local population now and into the future and it was carried out in the context of the Transforming Care programme.

Transforming Care is a programme of work to enable more people with learning disabilities and/or autism who have complex needs to live in the community, with the right support and close to home. More information about Transforming Care is available on the NHS England website or the North East and Cumbria Learning Disabilities Transformation Programme website

Both Transforming Care and the NHS Five Year Forward View include a strong emphasis on personalised care and support planning, personal budgets and personal health budgets to put people at the centre of their care to enable maximum choice and control about how their own needs are met.

The review of health respite services for people with learning disabilities will help the CCGs to make sure that families and carers of people with learning disabilities and complex needs are supported, valued and recognised within their roles.

As part of the review, the CCGs talked to people with learning disabilities and complex needs, and their families and carers, to understand more about:

  • What the expression ‘respite services’ means to them
  • What they think works well with current respite services
  • How they think respite services could be improved.

Engagement activity took place from December 2016 until the end of February 2017. This included discussion groups and questionnaires. The aim was to ensure that people with learning disabilities, their families and carers are influential in the development of appropriate services to meet their needs now and into the future.

To ensure that people with learning disabilities and complex needs can have their say, the CCGs are working in partnership with Inclusion North, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes the inclusion of people with learning disabilities, their families and carers.

A questionnaire was developed for families and carers that could be completed online or if preferred, downloaded, printed and returned to the FREEPOST address on the questionnaire (no stamp required). Alternatively, printed copies were available on request.

The engagement activity helped to inform the development of a number of possible ‘scenarios’ for the provision of health respite services for people with learning disabilities in the future. These scenarios will be ideas on how learning disability respite services could be further developed or delivered differently to best meet the needs of the local population.

It is important to note that there were no fundamental changes to the type of respite services available for people with learning disabilities while the review was conducted. Following the review, scenarios that are developed that are viable and sustainable in the longer term may be taken forward as proposals for change to improve respite services.

Any proposals for significant change will be subject to formal consultation with people who use respite services and the wider public. If any proposals for change are not significant, these will be subject to a further period of informal engagement, as opposed to formal public consultation.

The CCGs produced a Respite needs and responsibilities paper.  This contained background information to help people take part in the review.

Please see full post review engagement report attached below, a summary of the engagement report, easy read version of the summary and newsletter.

HaST STees Respite Review Engagement Report

Easy Read engagement summary

Engagement summary