I was asked today by a resident about why Wirral Council had proposed to close Maplehome, Pensall House, Poulton House, Meadowcroft and Fernleigh.
Unfortunately the public were barred because of a few noisy members of the public from part of the last full Council meeting at which this was discussed so there is a little confusion as to what happened/went on (especially as all the Labour councillors left early).
The Good News
Fernleigh Resource Centre in Leasowe which catered for people with mental health issues (apart from dementia or learning disabilities) will not be closed as planned. This decision was to be subject to a judicial review, however a previous meeting involving carers had found that the services currently provided by Fernleigh Resource Centre couldn’t currently be provided elsewhere. There was also a campaign and large (>1500 signature) petition about this.
Maplehome, Pensall House, Poulton House and Meadowcroft
Why are these being closed? Currently Wirral Council pays nursing homes, residential homes and others to provide places for people. There is always a contingency made so that there are spare places. However with people being supported better in their homes there are an increasing number of places. These vacant beds are being subsidised by the people of Wirral as many care home residents have their nursing (or care home) fees paid by the taxpayer.
In a similar argument as to why it is inefficient to run a school if you only have half its maximum pupils, a financial case was made to close Wirral Council’s provision and switch it to the private sector. This was then agreed when the 2011-2012 budget was set. There were problems with communicating this change to the users (and families of the users) of the services. Cllr Green has apologised at a public meeting for how the decision made back in December wasn’t communicated effectively to people.
Wirral Council Social Services has done its best to provide alternative support and that everybody fully understands what’s going on. If people would like to bring up their concerns on this issue there are a number of councillors with responsibility for this area who can explain things in better detail than I can. By clicking on their name (if your browser is configured correctly) you should be able to send them an email:-
Cllr Bob Moon (Lib Dem) – Cabinet Member for Social Care and Inclusion
Cllr Moira McLaughlin (Labour) – Chair, Health and WellBeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Cllr Ann Bridson (Lib Dem) – Spokesperson, Health and WellBeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Cllr Geoffrey Watt (Conservative) – Spokesperson, Health and WellBeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee