THE future of a Kidderminster respite care unit used by severely disabled children has again been thrown into doubt after a health trust said the facility was no longer cost-effective to run.

Ludlow Road, a respite care unit in Kidderminster which offers short overnight breaks, has been classed as neither “operationally viable or cost-effective” by Worcestershire Health and Care Trust - meaning it could permanently close.

Ofsted said the facility should be a four-bed self-contained unit which has led the health trust to say it would no longer be value for money.

The future of the care unit has been in the balance for a number of years.

A consultation was launched at the start of 2018 into the future of services at Ludlow Road, prompting parents and Wyre Forest Labour to launch a campaign to save the unit, including a petition which attracted 8,225 signatures.

Councillor Andy Roberts, cabinet member for children and families at the county council, eventually announced the care unit would stay open until at least April this year, but could not promise it would be completely safe from closure.

With the potential closure of Ludlow Road, Worcestershire Health and Care Trust plans to improve facilities at Osbourne Court in Malvern by adding four more children’s beds - two of which would be commissioned by the county council.

A joint statement by the health and care trust and the county council said: “The council and the health and care trust are committed to the continued provision of a wide range of support for children and young people with disabilities and their families, including the provision of overnight respite care when this is needed.

“The proposal for a different delivery model for the provision of overnight short breaks for children and young people would deliver a service that is sustainable and responsive to changing demand.

“As part of this proposal Osborne Court would be developed to provide overnight short breaks for both children and adults within the same complex which would help the transition for young people when they reach the age of requiring adult services. It also has facilities such as hydrotherapy pool, sensory rooms and extensive gardens.

“Any final decision on the proposed delivery of overnight short breaks for children, should the cabinet agree to the consultation, will only be made after consultation with families, professionals and wider stakeholders.”

Councillors will decide on Thursday (June 6) whether to put the plans out for consultation.