DUP MLA Maurice Devenney says the Health Minister Jim Wells has assured him there will be no rush to radically overhaul respite provision at The Cottage on Dungiven Road despite an ongoing Western Trust review.
The Health Minister has already confirmed that the Adult Respite Cottage will remain operational as a residential respite facility for adults with a learning disability.
However, he has not yet confirmed whether the Shepherd’s Way facility will continue to offer respite care for children.
But Mr Devenney said: “The Minister is clear that he has no plans for the respite facility in Londonderry to close, and has asked for a report from the Trust on the issue. The Minister has confirmed in replies to Assembly Questions that The Cottage will remain open.
“The nature of respite provision across the board is changing with many people now aspiring for a personalised provision which meets their specific and unique needs, and that is what the Trust seems to be trying to achieve.
“The Minister assured me however that there was no pressure for any change quickly and that this was not something which would deliver significant savings.
“He made clear the importance of families being fully involved in any decision-making, being kept informed and treated respectfully.
“There is an increasing demand for respite/short breaks, so the Trust is reviewing its respite services. The Minister understands that children with the most complex needs will continue to receive respite in the Cottage.
“I will continue to press the Western Trust and Department on this issue.”