THE parent of a teenager who uses a threatened Hereford respite centre says changes at the venue are making his son's health worse.

Paul Gilks says the lack of structure and routine at No 1 Ledbury Road in recent months has led to 16-year-old Andrew, who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder, becoming anxious which has forced his medication to be increased.

The centre, which provides respite care for children with complex health needs, was set to close last month in favour of alternative respite methods, including community fostering.

However, Herefordshire Council's Cabinet agreed a 12-month extension by taking over the lead commissioner role from Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

But Mr Gilks, who lives in St James, Hereford, says the situation has not improved and is now calling for urgent action.

"In Andrew's case, the rota for May is for alternate Tuesday and Thursday nights and one Saturday night. This does not begin to fit with his assessed need for one weeknight per week and a full weekend once every four weeks," said Mr Gilks who said there is an additional need to provide routine, consistency and structure to those with his son's condition.

"In Andrew's case, it is well known, and documented, that a lack of routine causes him great anxiety. That anxiety breeds aggressive behaviour, resulting in self harm and aggression towards adults working with him. The lack of structure and routine since October 2015 has already seen such a deterioration in his behaviour that his medication has had to be increased.

"How does a different night each alternate week begin to address this, or to meet his needs? It's a bit of a mess."

He says he doesn't blame service provider Wye Valley NHS Trust, or the staff at No 1, but fears Herefordshire Council's alternative respite methods are flawed.

"The council is so hell-bent on the fostering service idea that they have lost sight of everything else," he said.

Herefordshire Council said in a statement that it has "listened closely" to the views of families accessing 1 Ledbury Road, and will continue to do so.

"In addition to individual care planning meetings with families, over the last 18 months there have been several public and private meetings with parent groups, a scrutiny task group enquiry and a formal six week consultation," said a council spokesman.

"The council has entered into a £500,000 contract with Wye Valley NHS Trust to provide overnight short breaks at 1 Ledbury Road in 2016/17. The service will provide over 900 nights of care for up to 15 disabled children, which is more than sufficient to meet the number of nights each child is expected to need according to their assessments."

The spokesman added that as Wye Valley NHS Trust moves the service towards "a more outcomes focussed model", and complies with Ofsted regulations, there will be changes to the way the service is delivered.

"The importance of consistency for children on the autistic spectrum is recognised by both organisations and we will continue to work closely with individual families to understand and minimise the impact of any change," the spokesman said.