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Increase in demand for respite unit for adults with learning difficulties

Hopes for new purpose-built facility for Radcliffe Villas

A respite care unit for adults with learning difficulties in Douglas has seen a 37 per cent increase in demand over the past five years.

The Hollydene facility, based within Radcliffe Villas, is the subject of a Tynwald Question for Written Answer.

Rushen MHK Juan Watterson wanted to know: what the demand, total budget and staffing allocation for the unit has been since 2018, whether the budget has been fully spent; and what work is being undertaken to fill vacancies.

Health and Social Care Minister Lawrie Hooper has provided figures in response. 

They show the number of service users, or families accessing respite services, stood at 38 in 2018 and increased year-on-year to now 52.

Staffing wise; Minister Hooper says: "Manx Care currently operate with a minimum staffing level of four staff per shift plus two staff awake at night. There are currently two staff vacancies at Hollydene Respite Unit."

There's been seven rounds of recruitment for both substantive and relief staff across learning disability services since June last year, he writes.

The budget, in the meantime, remained fairly static from 2018 to 2022 ranging from £715,000 to £785,000.

For the 2023/24 financial year, the budget gained an uplift to £975,000 and there's a forecast variance of around ten-and-a-half-thousand-pounds.

In 2022 a planning application was submitted to replace Radcliffe Villas with a new purpose-built facility.

As the minister explains: 'Currently, the site does not meet the standards set out in the Regulation of Care Act and has been undergoing a gradual decommissioning process.'

It's hoped the Capital project - which is subject to Tynwald approval - alongside an increase in operational costs, will enable the service to operate at a higher occupancy rate than current levels.

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