Rhos care home 'could lose night cover' in takeover


Jonathan Grieve

FAMILIES of residents at a care home have expressed fears about proposals which could see the removal of round-the-clock care.

Domiciliary care at Plas yn Rhos sheltered housing has been put out to tender to private companies as part of cuts to Wrexham Council’s 2015-16 budget.

Families are worried it could result in the end of night-time on-call care, which is currently overseen by Wrexham Council.

That service could disappear in a private takeover of the home and vulnerable residents left unprotected overnight.

The facility has been open since the early 1980s and has always had an on-site manager and 24-hour on call care.

Dilys Richards, 67, of Rhos, said residents in the facility need round-the-clock care.
Her mother, Ivy Roberts, has been in the home for the last 18 months.

Mrs Richards said: “These people are being pushed from pillar to post. My mother went there 18 months ago and she was guaranteed 24/7 care. Those people need 24-hour care.

“They have closed Plas Madoc and now there’s this. The council is just not thinking straight.

“We are working hard to try and keep the service the same.

“I know there are cuts but money is going elsewhere. We have asked for a five-year freeze on cuts to the service.

“It is just not fair for the residents and some of them don’t have families to stick up for them.

“We have sent in a grievance to the council and 16 out of the 18 residents’ families are supporting it.

“We have been to several meetings since the consultation began but they keep moving the goalposts.”

Ponciau councillor Paul Pemberton expressed fear the removal of overnight care could lead to the closure of the Beech Avenue flats.

Cllr Pemberton said: “They were going to take night care away from April this year but we managed to delay that until the new daycare arrangement is in place.

“I can see a number of residents having to leave because it won’t be safe for them to stay there without overnight care.

“It is an absolute tragedy for the village. I have been lobbying the council for the last eight or nine months.

“The place holds 32 rooms and at the moment about 45 per cent of them are empty.

If everything goes as planned I can see the site in danger of closing because it won’t be financially viable any more.”

The proposed changes to services were detailed in a Wrexham Council report identifying budget savings for 2015/16, with the decision to put domiciliary care at the home out to tender, as well as retendering all other domiciliary care contracts, hoping to save the council £650,000.

Now families of 16 of the 18 residents at Plas yn Rhos care home have backed the official grievance submitted to Wrexham Council over the consultation process into the tendering of domiciliary care to private companies.

Tracy Orr, 43, of Wallasey, whose aunt is a Plas yn Rhos resident, said: “It has been absolutely appaling. We have had no minutes of meetings or documentation of our concerns. Twelve months ago we had the same clientele living there who required assistance with laundry, cleaning and shopping.

“The council is now saying they were capable of looking after themselves and doing their own cleaning and shopping. My aunt is registered blind, she has lymphoedema, she is immobile and she has to be hoisted out of bed.

“They are determined they are bringing these changes in and no one has got a say in it.

“They have absolutely railroaded this consultation – it has been flawed from the start.”

But Andrew Figiel, head of adult social care of Wrexham Council, said the consultation into the tendering of care had been “extensive and thorough”.

He said: “We do recognise and understand the anxieties and concerns of tenants and their families during a period of change to the service at Plas yn Rhos.

“There has been extensive and thorough consultation with tenants and families over a period of time on the proposed new model of care.

“Advocacy has been made available and used by tenants. We have listened carefully to the tenants and the implementation plan has been amended to reflect tenants’ issues, ideas and concerns.

“We remain committed to involving the tenants and their families in the selection of the new care provider and a further meeting has been arranged with tenants and families in the selection process.

“The service will not be removed, however, there is a need to ensure that it is brought up to date in order for it to be viable and sustainable in meeting the changing needs and expectations of older people.

“We remain confident the changes will safely meet the needs of tenants and we would wish to reassure tenants and relatives that we will continue to support them during this time as well as keeping the changes under review.”

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