A change to the short breaks for families with disabled children is to be made, following consultations by NHS Wiltshire's Clinical Commissioning Group and Wiltshire Council. 

A recommendation was made to the CCG’s governing body that families should be able to choose between a residential option at Canon’s House, Devizes, overnight breaks in the home of specialist carers or receive a direct payment to pay for non-state provision.

This improved service would be paid for by the closure of Hillcote, at Manor Road, Salisbury, which has faced declining demand over the last few years.

The CCG’s governing body approved the recommendation and a steering group will now be formed to set up the new service.

Dr Stephen Rowlands, a GP and chairman of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Hillcote will remain open until April 2015 to give us time to recruit the new home-based carers with a minimum of two to be located in south Wiltshire.

“All the money saved by closing Hillcote will be reinvested into the overnight short break service for families right across Wiltshire to ensure they have a choice about the type of care that is best for them.

"There will also be increased funding for the Children’s Learning Disability Nursing Service, who provide early intervention services to families.

“This model of provision is already working well in other large, rural counties like Dorset and Gloucestershire and we are sure it will be a success in Wiltshire too.”

Wiltshire Parent Carer Council (WPCC) represents nearly 800 parent carers of children and young people aged up to 25 with disabilities and/or special educational needs across Wiltshire.

Stuart Hall, interim chairman of Wiltshire Parent Carer Council, said that the council welcomed the approach.

He said the new system had be created as a result of the feedback received from Wiltshire parent carers and produced something better and more faily suited to parent carers of children and young people with a disability and/or special educational needs.