Councillors call for Special Council to discuss Girtrell Court

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Amid mounting complaints and concerns about the proposed replacement for Girtrell Court, Conservative Councillors have called for the matter to be addressed by a special Council meeting.

Councillor Chris Blakeley said: “It’s clear from the users of Girtrell Court that their needs and wishes are being ignored. The Council simply cannot be trusted to look after the most vulnerable in Wirral.

“Hardly a day goes by without reports from users and their families about their loved ones being miscategorised and them not being offered the bed based respite they so desperately need.

“Since the decision was made to close Girtrell Court, it is becoming clearer by the day that the promises of an alternative equal to or better than Girtrell Court was just ‘Pie in the Sky’.

“This really is now beyond a couple of ‘errors’ and begs the question is this deliberate manipulation of the figures to make the much smaller unit at Tollemache Road fit, rather than the need being fully catered for?

“It is clear that the Head of Service recent assertion that users are changing their minds is nothing but a smokescreen to try to hide the deceitful way in which the consultation was conducted and this line is now being trotted out as the casualties are coming to light.

“The Council has failed to make the saving of £155,000, even though some of the most vulnerable people in Wirral have found the safety net that was promised to them is full of holes. Perhaps it is not only Children’s Services that should be classed as inadequate?

“The policies and performance of the current administration are unravelling – whether it is looked after children or vulnerable adults. We hope that Labour listen to the concerns of users, families and carers and do the right thing, that is scrap this crazy idea and keep Girtrell Court open.”

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HERE

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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:

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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.
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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

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Wirral Council – Thoughtless!

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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.”

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

MEDIA RELEASE FROM WIRRAL COUNCIL
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.

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

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

Councillors Call on the Leader of the Council to ‘Think Again’

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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.”

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Councillor Chris Blakeley can be contacted on 07803 614418

EMAIL TO THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL

Dear Phil

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

Regards
Cllr’s Chris Blakeley, Bruce Berry, Steve Williams

Moreton West and Saughall Massie Ward

Wirral Borough Council.

 

 

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

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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.”

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