Special Council Requisitioned to discuss the Girtrell Court Debacle

Today, I along with my Conservative colleagues in Wirral submitted to the Mayor a requisition to discuss the way this Labour-led Council has treated the users and carers in their haste to reprovide the Girtrell Court services at a much smaller unit in Tollemache Road, being run by Sanctuary Supported Living.

You can read the requisition by clicking HERE

We know have to wait for Wirrals Mayor to agree to this debate and to set a date and time to do so.

Girtrell Court – Local Councillors Seek Government Help


Conservative Councillors have written to David Mowat MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Health, seeking intervention in the Council’s decision to close its last remaining home, Girtrell Court in Saughall Massie.  You can read that letter HERE

Councillor Bruce Berry said, “As we saw last week, the Council cannot be trusted to look after the most vulnerable in Wirral. Since the decision was made by Wirral’s Labour Cabinet to close Girtrell Court, it is becoming clearer by the day that the promises of a suitable alternative was just ‘Pie in the Sky’.

“Hardly a week goes by without reports from users, their families and staff who are being kept in the dark and treated abysmally.  Only today we have heard that bookings that have been made in the future are now being cancelled because the alternative provision in Tollemache Road is simply not big enough.

“The Council has failed to make the saving of £155,000, and some of the most vulnerable people in Wirral have found the safety net that has been promised to them is full of holes.”

Cllr Chris Blakeley added: “The policies and performance of the current administration are unravelling – whether it is looked after children or vulnerable adults.  We hope our requests for Government intervention with both services will do what Wirral Council is incapable of doing and give our residents some much needed protection.”


Girtrell Court – All is Not Rosy!

Having recently received many concerns about the transition from Girtrell Court to the alternative provision, the latest concerning staff I have found it necessary to email the Director of Adult Social Care yet again.   My latest email to him is reproduced below.


From: “Blakeley, Chris \(Councillor\)” <chrisblakeley@wirral.gov.uk>
Date: 25 September 2016 at 12:49:42 BST
To: <grahamhodkinson@wirral.gov.uk>
Cc: “Surjit Tour” <surjittour@wirral.gov.uk>, <ericrobinson@wirral.gov.uk>, “Steve Williams” <stephenwilliams@wirral.gov.uk>, “Bruce Berry” <bruceberry@wirral.gov.uk>, “Jeff Green” <jeffgreen@wirral.gov.uk>, “Lesley Rennie” <lesleyrennie@wirral.gov.uk>
Subject: Girtrell Court

Dear Director

In the last couple of weeks I have raised concerns with you regarding Girtrell Court users, timescales for the transition to the alternative provision, and the contract with Sanctuary.

You have of course responded to all of those concerns, indicating that everything in the garden is rosy, and everybody is relatively happy with progress.

Well today I have been contacted by staff members of Girtrell Court who have raised their concerns with me. Please see message below:

Hi Chris all the staff at Girtrell are wondering if you have any idea what the council’s intentions are regarding the staff. as we have heard that we are being forced to be tupe over to the new provider and will not be able to take EVR. as you can imagine the morale is very low and feel we are left in the dark with rumours flying around.

Given the compilation of concerns in the recent weeks about the transition from Girtrell Court to Tollemache Road I would ask you to personally ‘Get a Grip’ of this situation, as it would appear the officers who are leading on this matter, are perhaps not keeping you fully informed of the situation, which in turn is leading to all the unrest with users and staff.

I look forward to your response.

Councillor Chris Blakeley
Moreton West and Saughall Massie Ward
Wirral Borough Council


Wirral Council – Thoughtless!


Commenting on the introduction of an ‘app’ for carers by Wirral Council, Councillor Chris Blakeley said: “How disappointing that, having told carers with relatives at Girtrell Court, to fend for themselves, the Council should now decide to lecture the rest of us that ‘caring can be a daunting process’. Either the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing or, more likely, nobody thought about the families at Girtrell Court before sending out this press release.”

From: Glover, Nicholas
Sent: 10 August 2016 11:33
Subject: Are you caring for someone? Wirral to increase support for carers with free App

10 August 2016

· ‘Jointly’ app available for free to Wirral carers
· Brings together appointments, files, medication details
· Council working with charity Carers UK

Are you caring for someone? Wirral to increase support for carers with free App

Wirral Council is joining forces with a national charity to offer support to carers via an online ‘app’.

The app, which can be used on tablets and mobile phones, is called ‘Jointly’ and will help with setting up appointments, saving files and medical notes, managing medication and supplying information about your rights as a carer.

Managed by Carers UK, it includes the Upfront Guide to Caring, a simple tool which helps new carers to navigate the Carers UK website, and About Me, an online e-learning course to help people who feel overwhelmed by their caring responsibilities.

Cllr Chris Jones, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: ‘Caring for a relative can be a daunting prospect, but there is a great deal of support available. As well as accessing short breaks, home care and day care, carers can now use Carers UK’s free online app to manage their resources and their time.

‘The Jointly app helps carers to create a circle of care for their loved ones, bringing together information about medication, care files and appointments in one place.

‘This supports carers and loved ones to be independent and live well, as we have pledged through our 2020 council plan.’

To find out more about the Jointly app, visit http://www.carersdigital.org and create a new account using the free code DGTL2844.

To find out more about the support available for carers in Wirral, visit http://www.wirral.gov.uk/carers or contact the Carers Helpline 0151 670 0777.


Follow Wirral Council on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WirralCouncil

For further information contact Nick Glover, Press Officer, Wirral Council.

NEWS: Girtrell Court campaigners ask Town Hall to publish details of alternatives


Campaigners fighting to save Wirral’s last remaining Council respite care centre have called on the Town Hall to reveal the companies and providers they are in discussion with.

The call follows concerns that the alternatives being lined up to replace the Saughall Massie-based centre have not previously met the same standards as Girtrell Court.

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 hear that historically the Care Quality Commission and other agencies, may have raised concerns about some of the alternatives.

“This is the last thing the families of the 140 need to hear. The Town Hall needs to publish the details now and let us see the most recent inspection reports by the independent Care Quality Commission.”

“It’s not too late for the Cabinet Member, Cllr. Jones, and the Director, 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.”


Girtrell Court – Legal Challenge?

It seems that users of a respite centre in the Borough of Ealing have commissioned Solicitors, Irwin Mitchell to challenge Ealing Councils decision to close a respite centre.     You can read more about that by clicking HERE 

Now, while there clearly will be some differences, there are a huge amount of similarities with Wirral’s Labour Council decision to close Girtrell Court, so it may well be worthwhile the users making contact with Irwin Mitchell.      The Irwin Mitchell website can be found by clicking HERE



Mayor Agrees to Calls for Girtrell Court Debate


Following concerns raised by campaigners fighting to save Girtrell Court, the Mayor of Wirral, Cllr. Les Rowlands, has agreed to calls for an extraordinary meeting of all 66 councillors.

The demand for the meeting followed concerns that public statements from members of Wirral’s Cabinet were confused and, at times, contradictory.

Cllr. Chris Blakeley said: “In the last 14 days, we have been told, ‘yeah, but no, but maybe’ by the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health over the future of Girtrell Court.

“At the same time, the Leader of the Council pledged to be open and transparent only to then delegate the decision to the Cabinet Member and Director, out of public view and with no reference to the rest of his Cabinet.

“This whole sorry saga has proved to be traumatic to the staff and families; it has appalled the trade unions and ward councillors in Saughall Massie. I believe the Cabinet Member should now make it clear what, if anything, she has decided and on what evidence. Neither I, nor the families, believe the repeated claims about ‘extending choice’ – it is, in truth, about closing services.”

Councillor Blakeley has now emailed the Head of Law to seek confirmation of the date of the meeting and to ensure that notice is given to petitioners, families, staff and unions.