Respite from rhetoric needed? We show readers a view from the carer who so profoundly moved the whole Council in his presentation

23rd March 2011  

Maplehome. One of the respite care homes to be axed by the Council.



There’s been a lot of rhetoric about the looming closures of respite & care homes and I thought it would be useful for all users of these services and their carers to have a summary of where we are now and how the rhetoric compares with reality.


Rhetoric: “Care plans for people who use respite care will be completed this week”. Cllr Moon, 16 March.

Reality: Don’t know anyone who has received a care plan.

Rhetoric: “Every individual will have one single point of contact so that they aren’t passed from person to person to get the advice that they need”. Cllr Moon, 9 Feb.

Every person will have a dedicated liaison worker to help them make the choices that are right for them and to avoid them being pushed around different departments in the council. Cllr Green, 19 Feb.

Reality: Don’t know anyone who has a single point of contact. Agency social workers from other boroughs were brought in to do assessments and will disappear again in a few weeks.

Rhetoric: “There are viable and good quality alternatives for respite care for both people with learning difficulties and people with mental health issues”. Howard Cooper (Director Dept. Adult Social Services DASS), 9 Feb.

Reality: There are no viable and good quality providers for people with mental health issues, so a U-turn has been performed and this service has been kept in-house at Fernleigh.  

There are insufficient viable and good quality providers for respite care for people with learning disabilities (LD). This has lead to Girtrell Court and Sylvandale being retained as temporary in-house respite facilities.

Rhetoric: “The only change is that they will have a wider choice of who provides their support and access to services that are currently not available to them” Cllr Moon, 7 March.

Reality: No choice for Fernleigh users (who didn’t want to move anyway).

No choice for LD respite users, just a different building and different staff to those they’ve grown to know and love over a number of years.

Rhetoric: “A report to be presented to Wirral council’s ruling cabinet this week says there is sufficient interest and capacity from good-quality providers of residential and nursing home care, intermediate care and respite care to accommodate services currently being provided to older people and people with LD at Meadowcroft, Pensall, Poulton, Manor Road and Mapleholme”. Wirral Council, 16 March.

Reality: The carers on the LD Respite Provider Evaluation Panel sought an urgent meeting with DASS on 17 March to completely disassociate themselves with this assertion. They had not found any provider with which they were fully satisfied and asked for this to be made known to the Cabinet Meeting that evening. Moreover they wanted to convey their complete dissatisfaction with the tender evaluation process. They did not receive the training promised “to provide panel members with a full understanding around criteria, statutory obligations etc”. No specification of requirements appeared to have been sent to providers or given to panel members. The carers (Daphne Smith, Eddie Griffiths & Brian Donaldson) were left feeling they had simply been used and the Council Cabinet had been mislead.

Rhetoric: “This will be a seamless transition (Dictionary definition = Orderly, logical & consistent change from one state to another.)”. Cllr Moon, every other day since records began! 

Reality: Confusion, fear, apologies for poor communication, U-Turns, legal battles with service users, broken promises re single point of contact & care plans, inept provider evaluation process, no continuity of respite staff, ignoring MP’s request for a response to her questions etc….


My next step is to refer this “Seamless Transition” to the Local Government Ombudsman. In the meantime I would like the Council to match their rhetoric with action and stop issuing meaningless sound bites to the people of Wirral.


See also the links below:


What do you think? 

Our ‘comments’ feature below is for meaningful comment.  (The other political parties have their own places to publish their endless propaganda.) Comment from users of this service, carers, and their families, relating to the issue, is particularly welcome.   








‘Rotten eggs’ stink replaces ‘fishy smell’

5th December 2009

Adrian reports

Tate Triangle residents have once more been faced with a dreadful stink in the air around them. 
Earlier today, Saturday 5th December, I received a number of phone calls asking me to visit the area asap.  I was cooking the children’s breakfast at the time so it was almost an hour before I could go to Limekiln Lane – but when I arrived the distinct smell of something resembling a badly neglected hen house still lingered strongly.   There was quite a breeze blowing so whatever the source it wasn’t far away.

This was unlike the familiar ‘fishy’ Tall Oil odours widely asociated withTate & Lyle – and to their immense credit they have now installed filters to minimise effects.  So we must assume that this new ghastly pong is from some other substance, of as yet unknown provenance. 

We must trace the source and eradicate it.

We must trace the source and eradicate it.

But residents on the war-path’ are now insisting that one way or another the sources of all such smells must be traced and eradicated once and for all. 

Hot on the heels of the last petition to Council another is in preparation.

Watch this space.