Council to consider créche’s future following reassurances from Devon Partnership Trust

Posted on: 7 October 2016

Reassurances have been given by the Devon Partnership NHS Trust (DPT) that anyone requiring their Depression and Anxiety Service, and who needs childcare, will get the support they need.

The clarification from the DPT, about what support they already offer people attending their services, come ahead of Devon County Council’s decision next week about the possible closure of a dedicated créche within the building of Compass House, Exeter.

The créche is used by people while they attend Devon Partnership NHS Trust’s Depression and Anxiety Service, which is on the same site.

The numbers of children attending the créche have fallen to a point where, from April to the end of August, it was costing £83 per childcare hour. Parents pay just £1.50 per session.

In a letter to Cllr Stuart Barker, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for adult social care, Dr David Somerfield, Chief Operations Officer for the Trust says:

‘When taking referrals from new patients, or making a first appointment for someone, the service routinely asks if the person requires support with childcare in order to access the service.’

The Trust has said that provision of the créche is not part of the mental health service per se, but has been used simply because the créche was already in existence on the site when their Depression and Anxiety Service took up residence at Compass House.

The letter describes a range of other options offered by the Trust in order to help people with childcare needs to access their services, including:

– Appointments at alternative locations such as the nearby Chestnut Children’s Centre in Wonford, where there is also childcare available.
– Bringing their baby or very young child into sessions, if appropriate.
– Offering early morning appointments, from 8am, and evening, up to 8pm.
– Evening group sessions.
– Assessments, treatments and other interventions available by telephone, or 24 hour a day access to support via a secure online platform.

The Council will consider the reassurances by the Trust, as well as the continued low usage of the crèche, at its Cabinet meeting next Wednesday, 12 October

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