Moreton and Saughall Massies three Councillors, who are fighting to save Wirral’s last remaining Council respite care centre have called on the Leader of the Council to ‘Think Again’
In an email to the Leader of the Council (an edited version is reproduced below to protect the names of the users) they point out that the alternatives being lined up to replace the Saughall Massie-based centre are either not in place or simply don’t meet the same standards as Girtrell Court and the email points to a case they have been dealing with. Their email to Councillor Davies is appended below
Councillor Chris Blakeley said: “I share these concerns. We know the Town Hall decided to start the process of closing Girtrell Court before they looked at the alternatives. Now, we can clearly demonstrate that this is having a negative impact on users..
“It’s not too late for the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member, Cllr. Jones to admit they have made a terrible mistake and shelve the closure plan. If they did that I would be the first in the queue to thank them.”
Councillor Chris Blakeley can be contacted on 07803 614418
EMAIL TO THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL
You will be aware that I have contacted you a number of times regarding my constituents, Mr and Mrs P and their son, A who is currently living at Girtrell Court.
You will also be aware of the issues surrounding the alternative provision that has been offered to A by Autism Together, first at Raby Hall and more recently at an establishment in Wrexham and the hasty plans by DASS to decant A into a half-way house in order to get him out of Girtrell Court, even though the half-way house was not appropriate or suitable! Now we know that Mr and Mrs P’s first choice of alternative provision, Raby Hall may not be available until October, but clearly DASS did not wish to look after A until then at Girtrell Court, and that is why Mr and Mrs P have by default been forced to accept the earlier placement in Wrexham.
I forwarded you a copy of an email from Mr and Mrs P last week which clearly demonstrated the forceful, indeed, perhaps what could be described as bullying tactics they were suffering because the DASS Officers, driven by the Councils desire to close Girtrell Court simply wanted to divest themselves of the burden of A.
Thankfully, and I hope because of my intervention and that of Autism Together we have managed to secure A’s placement at Girtrell Court until regular staff are in place in Wrexham in July and we have also been told that if that placement is not successful the option to move A to Raby Hall at a later date is still open.
Now, while we have overcome some of the difficulties relating to our constituents, we have very real and serious concerns that this instance/episode demonstrates that DASS and their commissioners are simply not taking any note of your and the Cabinet Members guarantees that any alternative provision will be equal to or better than that currently offered at Girtrell Court, and we fear, as do the majority of users and carers of Girtrell Court that they are simply going to be thrown to the independent sector in the Councils haste to abrogate its responsibilities to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
We are also aware that the Director of DASS has stated that a multi bed unit is required and would have to be commissioned to provide an alternative, and it would appear the Councils preferred provider to do this is a company that users of Girtrell Court have raised concerns about and in particular about this companies’ ability to provide a safe haven for their loved ones. Despite these concerns DASS seems hell bent on continuing down this route.
It is clear, as we have stated before that the decision to close Girtrell Court, to save £155k is ill conceived and ill thought out, and in the light of the recent Cabinet Decision to make £3 million available for care fees, with £1.5 million of that coming from balances, we ask again for you to reconsider this proposal and provide the £155k from balances to secure the future of Girtrell Court.
This is about people’s lives, about reassurance, about safety and choice, that choice simply must include Girtrell Court.
We look forward to your response
Cllr’s Chris Blakeley, Bruce Berry, Steve Williams
Moreton West and Saughall Massie Ward
Wirral Borough Council.