Fears over closure of Aylsham centre

Dan GrimmerThe parents of a severely disabled man have voiced their fears over the closure of a valuable Aylsham centre which provides round-the-clock care for vulnerable people.Dan Grimmer

The parents of a severely disabled man have voiced their fears over the closure of a valuable Aylsham centre which provides round-the-clock care for vulnerable people.

Plans have been under way for more than three years to close two Norfolk centres which provide respite care for adults with learning difficulties.

But there are fears that shutting Mill Close in Aylsham and Park View in King's Lynn - part of national guidelines - will lead to many families missing out on vital care as there are still no viable alternatives in place.

Sue Humphries and her husband Stephen, from Caister, have been looking after their son Luke, 25, almost every day and night since he was born.


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He has severe learning difficulties, uncontrolled life-threatening epilepsy and challenging behaviour, and he currently uses Mill Close for three days a month.

Mrs Humphries said: 'Luke has a mental age of a toddler but he is 6ft and 15 stone with very complex needs. At Mill Close we know he is looked after properly and he likes it there. We know by the way he communicates that he is happy there and for us it the closest we get to knowing what a normal life is like.'

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NHS Norfolk, NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney and Norfolk County Council have been talking to patients and carers about the respite care they need for people with learning difficulties.

And the issue was discussed at a Norfolk health overview and scrutiny committee last Thursday where health bosses admitted they were still trying to find suitable alternative provision for those in Norfolk with complex needs.

The Aylsham centre has five respite beds currently used by 34 families from across Norfolk.

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